Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden face off on Tuesday in a televised presidential debate, part of a 60-year-old tradition marked by some of the most memorable moments of modern U.S. political history:
– 1960: The first televised debate pitted Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy against Republican Vice President Richard Nixon, who was recovering from a hospital visit and had a 5 o’clock shadow, having refused makeup. The 70 million viewers focused on what they saw, not what they heard. Kennedy won the election.
– 1976: In the first TV debate in 16 years, Democrat Jimmy Carter faced unelected incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford. In remarks seen as a major blunder, Ford said: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.” Carter won the election.
– 1980: Carter appeared in a second debate with Republican Ronald Reagan after boycotting the first for including third-party candidate John Anderson. The president accused Reagan of planning to cut Medicare healthcare funding for the elderly. Reagan, who already had complained that Carter was misrepresenting his stands on a number of issues, said: “There you go again” and chuckled, drawing audience laughter and coining a catchphrase. Reagan won the election.
– 1984: Reagan, 73, successfully defused the issue of his age when he debated Democrat Walter Mondale, 56, quipping: “I want you to know that 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.” Reagan was re-elected.
– 1988: A debate against Republican Vice President George H.W. Bush opened with Democrat Michael Dukakis being asked whether he would favor the death penalty for someone who raped and murdered his wife. The question offered a candidate dubbed “the iceman” by critics a chance to show his emotional side. His laborious response did just the opposite. Bush won the election.
Read more: Reuters