Thursday, November 10, 2011

Presidential debates - the best and the worst

Presidential debates are now essentially common-place in elections.  They have featured some amazing moments that have both positively and negatively affected the participants.  In light of Rick Perry's stumble yesterday, we thought this would be a good time to share some of the best - and worst - moments of Presidential debates.


There you go again, Ronald Reagan:  The quip, directed at Jimmy Carter, was the perfect line at the perfect moment.  Ronald Reagan used it against Jimmy Carter to disarm Carter's attack on Reagan's Medicare record.  Delivered with classic Reagan style and charm, it was a moment most viewers would remember.

Senator, You're No Kennedy:  Vice Presidential debates are rarely as memorable as this one.  In the deabte, Lloyd Bensen (Michael Dukakis' running mate) destroyed Dan Quayle's attempt to compare himself to JFK:

Are you better off today than you were four years ago?  Again, back to Reagan-Carter.  Reagan used the rhetorical question to ask if voters thought Carter should be elected to another four years.  The line is still used today:


Don't look at your watch, George W. Bush:  In a 1992 debate featuring questions from regular Americans, George H.W. Bush twice looked at his watch, giving the impression that he'd rather be elsewhere.

Al, stop sighing, Al Gore:  Apparently bored or too good for the responses of George W. Bush, Al Gore signed, many times, during his debate against George W. Bush.  The signs made Gore look arrogant and helped promote the idea that he was not like the average American.

Really?  No Soviet domination?:  In a debate against Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford asserted that there was no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.  Apparently, Ford wasn't living in the same world as the rest of us, because indeed there was.  Ford even had a chance to correct himself, but instead doubled down on the line.

I have no emotions, Michael Dukakis:  When running for President against George H.W. Bush in 1988, Dukakis coldly told an audience that he wouldn't favor the death penalty for someone who killed his wife.  Appearing to have no emotions, blood, heart, whatever, the comments and calculated way in which they were delivered pushed the image of Dukakis as someone who had no emotions.

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