Our Favorite Debate Moments

Hofstra University is hosting the third and final presidential debate tonight. And that gives us a good reason to look back at some memorable moments in previous presidential debates.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

And on the day before the final presidential debate in this election year, a look back at some of the highlights and lowlights from debates past.

Former President JOHN F. KENNEDY: I think Mr. Nixon is an effective leader of his party. I hope he would grant me the same.

Former President RICHARD NIXON: I can only say that my experience is there for the people to consider. Senator Kennedy's is there for the people to consider.

Former President KENNEDY: The question before us is, which point of view and which party do we want to lead the United States.

Former Vice President WALTER MONDALE: Mr. Reagan after the election is going to have to propose a tax increase.

Former President RONALD REAGAN: You know, I wasn't going to say this at all, but I can't help it. There you go again.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Former President GERALD FORD: There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.

Unidentified Male: The crew of broadcasters in Philadelphia have temporarily lost the audio. It is not a conspiracy against Governor Carter or President Ford, and they will fix it as soon as possible.

Mr. BERNARD SHAW (Moderator): Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?

Former Governor MICHAEL DUKAKIS (Former Democratic Presidential Nominee): No, I don't, Bernard, and I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don't see any evidence...

Unidentified Male: Foreign countries... Foreign Aid...

Former Vice President DAN QUAYLE: Senator, it's in your book.

Former Vice President AL GORE: No, it's not.

Former Vice President QUAYLE: On page 304, it is there.

Former Vice President GORE: No, it's not. No, it's not.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Can we focus on the issues and not the personalities and the mud?

Former President BILL CLINTON: I'm just as sick as you are by having to wake up and figure out how to defend myself every day.

Ms. CAROLE SIMPSON (Moderator): President Bush, how would you like to respond?

Former President GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Let's do it.

Mr. ROSS PEROT (Former Presidential Candidate): There will be a job-sucking sound going south. I might as well just go with the... I don't think so. You want to wait? I'm all confused now. Technically...

President GEORGE W. BUSH: I believe that younger workers aught to be able to take out some of their own money and put it into a personal savings account.

Senator JOHN KERRY (Former Democratic Presidential Nominee): That's an invitation to disaster.

Former Vice President GORE: I have a very strong record on the environment in the United States Senate.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Former Vice President ALL GORE: I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did...

Senator BOB DOLE (Former Republican Presidential Nominee): I have some age, some experience, some intelligence.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Senator DOLE: That adds up to wisdom.

President CLINTON: It's the age of his ideas that I question.

Unidentified Male: Now, if you just want to get out and raise taxes.

Mr. HAL BRUNO (Moderator): Admiral Stockdale, it's your turn to go first.

Vice Admiral JAMES STOCKDALE (Vice Presidential Nominee, Independent Party): You know, I didn't have my hearing aid turned on. Tell me again.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BRAND: Moments from televised presidential debates from 1960 to 2004. So those are past debates. What do you want to hear tonight? Do you want a specific question posed? Do you think there's anything John McCain can do to convince enough voters to choose him? Go to our blog, npr.org/daydreaming. Hopefully, you can weigh in with some good questions and some good comments there, and hopefully your hearing aid is turned on right now.

BRAND: Stay with us on Day to Day from NPR News.

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