The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

October 3, 2012

10 memorable moments in presidential debates

(Continued)

1992: James Stockdale asks: "Who am I? Why am I here?"

Stockdale, a decorated Vietnam veteran, was third-party candidate Ross Perot's running mate. His unique opening earned him some laughs, but in the long run, also made him the subject of jokes that undercut his aim of being a serious contender.

1988: Michael Dukakis and the death penalty

When asked whether he would favor an irrevocable death penalty for someone who raped and murdered his wife, Dukakis, the Democratic nominee, quickly answered that he wouldn't. While a calm and efficient response would seem befitting for most debate questions, Dukakis's automatic, technical answer to such an emotionally distressing question didn't sit will with voters looking for a more human response.

1988: Lloyd Bentsen tells Dan Quayle: "You're no Jack Kennedy"

Just about every political put-down has to be compared to this one from the vice presidential debate 24 years ago. Quayle defended his experience and readiness to be president by noting that he had "as much experience as Jack Kennedy did, when he sought the presidency." The Democratic vice presidential nominee replied curtly: "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

1984: Ronald Reagan says he won't exploit Walter Mondale's "youth and inexperience"

Facing questions about this age, the incumbent turned the argument on its head, earning laughter from the audience when he delivered this line about Mondale. This debate was a reminder that humor holds the potential to defuse issues that are difficult to navigate.

1980: Reagan: "There you go again"

After Jimmy Carter cast him as an opponent of Medicare and expanding health insurance in debate No. 2, Reagan's memorable line was an effective jumping off point for a rebuttal. Taken together with his also memorable "are you better off?" closing argument, Reagan commanded the attention in this debate.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Traps set in New Jersey lake while animal control searches for snake

    JEFFERSON, N.J. — Reports of a 16-foot-long exotic snake — possibly an anaconda — slithering through New Jersey’s largest lake have stoked fears among residents and led to searches and questions about what exactly is in the water....

    July 23, 2014

  • Airlines cancel air traffic after rocket attack

    JERUSALEM — A Hamas rocket exploded Tuesday near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities responded to the shock of seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Remains of victims from Malaysian airliner crash transported by train to Ukrainian controlled territory

    KHARKIV, Ukraine — A train bearing the dead from the downed Malaysian airliner reached Ukrainian government-held territory at long last Tuesday, but the pro-Russian separatists in control of the crash site showed little willingness to ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Contrarian’s case: Why the U.S. could be dragged down by struggling world economies?

    NEW YORK — Just as the U.S. economy is strengthening, other countries are threatening to drag it down....

    July 23, 2014

  • Dueling rulings: Courts split on health law

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s health care law is snarled in another big legal battle, with two federal appeals courts issuing contradictory rulings on a key financing issue within hours of each other Tuesday....

    July 23, 2014

  • Obama nominee pledges to ‘transform’ VA

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs pledged Tuesday to transform the beleaguered agency, saying that “systematic failures” must be addressed....

    July 23, 2014

  • Friend is first convicted in Boston Marathon probe

    BOSTON — The conviction of a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for impeding the investigation into the bombings has his lawyers wondering if anyone else who faces charges connected to the 2013 attack stands a ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Rebels release train with bodies from jet

    HRABOVE, Ukraine — Bowing to international pressure, pro-Moscow separatists released a train packed with bodies and handed over the black boxes from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane, four days after it plunged into rebel-held eastern ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Gaza death toll passes 560

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A high-level attempt by the U.N. chief and the U.S. secretary of state to end deadly Israel-Hamas fighting was off to a rough start Monday: Gaza’s Hamas rulers signaled they won’t agree to an unconditional ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Perry sending Guard troops to border

    AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Rick Perry is deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said Monday were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally. ...

    July 22, 2014