Political Debates<br />A Brief Summary of Historical Debates that shaped American Politics<br />“Honest differences of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy making among free men.” <br />–Hubert Hoover<br />Place logo <br />or logotype here,<br />otherwise<br />delete this.<br />Rebecca Gwynne<br />
Issues to Think About:<br />Debates: Helpful or Useless? Are they are necessary part of the political process?<br />Style vs. Substance? Could a president like William Howard Taft (over 300 pounds) or Franklin Roosevelt (confined to a wheelchair) be elected in an age of television? Would the public choose Lincoln over Douglas if they could see Lincoln's face, described by many as extremely ugly?<br />Little Mistakes or Campaign-Costing Blunders? Debates focus on tiny gestures and body language that would otherwise go unnoticed. Did President Bush glancing at his watch throughout the debate or Al Gore’s eye rolling and sighing really cost them the election?<br />http://www.pbs.org/newshour/debatingourdestiny/teacher_guide.html<br />Place logo <br />or logotype here,<br />otherwise<br />delete this.<br />Rebecca Gwynne<br />
Illinois Senate Debates (1858)<br />Abraham Lincoln (R), former U.S. Congressman (IL) and Stephen A. Douglass (D), U.S. Senator (IL)<br />Series of famous seven debates, each debate lasted three hours<br />The main topics discussed were slavery and the Union.<br />Interesting Fact:<br />Although Lincoln lost the election, these debates launched him into national prominence which eventually led to his election as President of the United States in 1860.<br />
General Election Presidential Debate (1960)<br />Known as the “Great Debates” <br />John F. Kennedy (D), U.S. Senator (MA) and Richard <br />M. Nixon (R),Vice President<br />First-ever televised presidential debate.<br />Filmed in Chicago, IL<br />Was shown on CBS, NBC and ABC from 9:30 t0 10:30pm<br />70 million viewers<br />Interesting Fact:<br />Most important, the Great Debates forced citizens to rethink how democracy would work in a television era. Most people think Kennedy would have lost the election without the televised debates.<br />Kennedy looked young, healthy and energetic, while Nixon came across to viewers as old, uncomfortable and angry.<br />
General Election Presidential Debate (1976)<br /><ul><li> President Gerald Ford (R) and former Dem. Governor </li></ul>Jimmy Cater (GA)<br />Interesting Fact:<br />During the debates, President Ford made the following comment, “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford Administration.” Many feel that the mishandling of that statement was a turning point in the campaign for Carter who won the election. <br /><ul><li>After a 16-year hiatus, President Gerald Ford agreed to debate Democratic challenger former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter in a televised series of debates. Ford was behind in the polls , following his controversial pardon of President Nixon for his role in the Watergate affair.
69.7 million viewers</li></li></ul><li>General Election Presidential Debate (1980)<br /><ul><li> President Jimmy Carter (D) and former California </li></ul>Governor Ronald Reagan (R)<br /><ul><li> In 1980, inflation was soaring and there were huge lines </li></ul>the gas stations. Reagan asked voters if they were better <br />off today than they were four years ago. <br /><ul><li> Reagan’s charismatic personality and charm won over </li></ul>the American people and he went on to defeat the sitting President. <br />Interesting Fact:<br />During these debates Reagan delivered one of his most famous lines—“we can meet our destiny—and that destiny is to build a land here that will be, for all mankind, a shining city on a hill. I think we ought to get at it.”<br />
General Election Presidential Debate (1984)<br /><ul><li> President Ronald Reagan (R) and former Vice President Walter Mondale (D)
Incumbent President Ronald Reagan had a sizable lead </li></ul>over Walter Mondale. Overall, the debates were seen as helping to revive Mondale’s failing campaign, but not enough to defeat the popular sitting President, whose approval rating was <br />54 percent. <br />Interesting Fact:<br />At 72, Reagan remained a powerful speaker and a popular conservative, but Mondale sought to exploit the President’s age as a weakness. In one of the most memorable moments of the debate Reagan said, "I want you to know also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience." <br />
General Election Presidential Debate <br />(1988)<br /><ul><li>Vice President George H. W. Bush (R) </li></ul>and Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis (D) <br /><ul><li>Vice President Bush campaigned hard to emerge from under the shadow of popular president Reagan. The race was close and the debates were considered important in helping people choose their candidate.
Governor Dukakis, a liberal Democrat, received the first question and his awkward handling of the capital punishment issue remains the most memorable of the campaign.
Bush successfully exploited Dukakis’ liberal views on certain issues and won the election.</li></ul>Interesting Fact:<br />An interesting moment in the VP debate between Dan Quayle (R) and Lloyd Bentsen (D) when Bensten told Quayle he “was no Jack Kennedy.”<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRCWbFFRpnY<br />
General Election Presidential Debate (1992)<br /><ul><li>President George H.W. Bush (R), Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton (D), and Ross Perot (I).
This was the first televised debate that featured three participants
President Bush would rather focus on foreign policy issues, instead the debate constantly shifted to domestic concerns like the economy and health care, and this seemed to frustrate the experienced President.</li></ul>Interesting Fact:<br />The second debate implemented, for the first time ever, a "town hall meeting" approach which directly involved voters in the process by allowing them to pose questions to the candidates. <br />
General Election Presidential Debate (2000)<br /><ul><li> Vice President Al Gore (D), and Texas Governor George Bush (R)
In 2000, people were happy and comfortable and the political environment was relatively calm
Believe it or not, the biggest issue of the debate was what to do with the growing federal budget surplus, which was $230 billion in the year 2000 alone!</li></ul>Interesting Fact:<br />The debate was as much about style as substance. Al Gore’s attitude was not perceived well by the American public. His eye-rolling and sighing appeared to hurt him in the first debate.<br />
General Election Presidential Debate (2004)<br /><ul><li> President George W. Bush (R), and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry (D)
The Iraq War was dominating the news and national defense and terrorism were the key issues in the debate
Kerry wanted to make the American public understand his position on the war, but was unable to unseat the incumbent wartime president. </li></ul>Interesting Fact:<br />Kerry wanted more debates but the campaigns settled on only three.<br />"This president has made, I regret to say, a colossal error of judgment." - Sen. John Kerry<br />
Oregon Republican Presidential <br />Primary Debate (May 1948)<br />Radio debate lasting one hour<br />Outlawing the Communist Party in the United States<br />Interesting Fact:<br />This was the first and last presidential debate limited to a single issue.<br />Thomas Dewey, NY Governor <br />Harold Stassen, former Minnesota Governor<br />