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The first televised presidential debate in U.S. history may be the most consequential.
Political mythology holds that Americans who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon was better, while those who watched it on television thought Kennedy was better.
A moment that may have impacted the final result was when Ford stumbled over a question during their second debate regarding Poland, which he insisted was not under "Soviet domination." It was, and Ford had to retract his statement, contributing to the view that he was in over his head.
There was widespread dissatisfaction with Carter but also concerns about Reagan's experience and temperament.
With their first and only televised debate late in the election, Reagan convinced the American voters he was up for the job with a single liner ("There you go again") and an FDR-inspired closing statement (“Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”)
Reagans first televised debate against Mondale brought renewed focus on his advanced age (Reagan was 73 at the time) and raised questions about how engaged he was in the business of the White House.
However, Reagan was able to diffuse it with a simple joke: "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.”
The beginning of the end of Michael Dukakis' once-promising presidential run was when he was asked about an arguably "gotcha" question about whether he would stand by his anti-death penalty position even if his wife were "raped and murdered."
In the years since, Dukakis defended his robotic response. He didn't think his answer was that bad.
Veteran Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen faced off against the youthful (and many argued inexperienced) Indiana Sen. Dan Quayle.
During the debate, Quayle tried to link himself to the legacy of former President John F. Kenndey. But Bentsen said, "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." It sparked spontaneous applause.
The unusual inclusion of a third party candidate insured an even greater level of interest in the 1992 presidential debates.
The first so-called "town hall" format was introduced. This format was very favorable to the Arkansas Gov, Bill Clinton, who was known for his physical comfort with voters.
President George H.W. Bush was more awkward in these kinds of encounters. When he was asked how the national debt and recession had impacted his life or the lives of anyone close to him, he was caught on camera looking at his wristwatch, increasing the perception that he was indifferent and detached from the concerns that touched Americans.
Sarah Palin, the polarizing Alaska governor, entered the stage following a series of embarrassing headlines and poorly received interviews. Sen. Joe Biden had to walk a delicate balance since there was an increased sensitivity to sexism in the campaign.
The debate ended up without any major incident. Palin made many factual errors and mostly pursued her own talking point instead of answering the moderator.
After a dull first debate, President Obama saw his re-election chances in trouble. During his second prime-time against Republican Mitt Romney, Romney tried to rebuke Obama for allegedly not calling the recent embassy attack in Benghazi a terrorist attack.
A confident Obama urged moderator Candy Crowley to "get the transcript." Crowley interjected and confirmed that the president had indeed called the incident an "act of terror."
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Having been the first nationally televised presidential debate in history, this event is still seen as a memory worth remembering. Furthermore, what made it even more extraordinary was the fact that both political figures who participated in the debate would later become Presidents. An important take-away refers to the fact that, especially during a public event, one should take care of how she or he looks like.
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The first televised debate from 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon helped Kennedy become more popular, only because of his good looks, while Nixon, just recovered from a recent hospital...
Ever since the first televised debate between Kennedy and Nixon, back in 1960, television has been playing an essential role in influencing people's political choices. After sixteen years of break, starting with 1976, televised debates have become standard practice in politics.
What is maybe the most interesting about how television influenced politics is the fact that individuals, as well as parties, are now taking into account additional factors when judging the candidates, such as looks and the ability to debate.
The outcome was so bizarre, the United States had to amend the Constitution.
After his inauguration, Adams selected Clay as his secretary of state. Jackson accused Adams and Clay of a "corrupt bargain."
The 1860 election was notable because it ripped the long-dominant Party (and nation) in half.
In 1861, delegates from South Carolina, and six of the Southern states formed the Confederate States of America and selected Jefferson Davis as their president.