It’s debate night. I’ve been looking forward to this throughout this entire election process — they are as exciting to me as the Super Bowl, believe it or not. Hmm…unless the Packers are in the Super Bowl, then the debates would run a VERY close second . . but indeed, second.

Go ahead, play it – you know you wanna

I was finally able to get my coffee fix yesterday – oh! the panic! I wonder if this is how heroin addicts feel? UG called me after reading my post . . worried that perhaps I needed hospitilization because of it. Only a really good friend would understand what a dire emergency it was for me. Her first words out of her mouth were …”are you tapping a vein over there??”.


Chris and I keep our local Starbuck’s in business – the manager tells me that everytime I walk in. She says “There’s my paycheck – Hi Lisa!”. lol

Anyways, back to the debates . . I fully expect to be NOWHERE near the computer during those 90 minutes. No worries, though – support requests for clients goes straight through to my blackberry wireless . . that’s about the only thing that would pull me away from the television. I fully expect Bush to do really well tonight. Hopefully, Kerry has been able to calm down his orange hue for the event.

I’ve been watching the pre-debate over-analyzation done by the talking heads and armchair pundits on cable news . . and I’m just utterly fascincated with the whole process. The nit picky little negotiation details that go on behind the scenes (or in this day and age, not so behind the scenes). The little ‘nuances’ that have absolutely nothing to do with the issues at hand, but can totally ruin a candidancy. Like Al Gore’s exasperation in his first debate with Bush and his stalkish stance in his third debate with him.

Debates can have a sort of ‘one strike and you’re out’ kind of deal.

Don’t sweat, period.
September 26, 1960; Richard Nixon v. John F. Kennedy.

This was the first televised presidential debate. Kennedy looked relaxed, tan, and fit in a dark suit that contrasted nicely with the gray studio walls. Plus he had the foresight to have been born handsome. Nixon was recovering from the flu–bad move!–and his gray suit vanished against the backdrop, highlighting his blue chin and haggard eyes. As the studio lights blazed down, beads of sweat began drooling down his face. Who could listen to the guy?

Curious footnote: some people who heard the debate on radio thought Nixon had won.

Don’t say something really dumb and obviously wrong
October 6, 1976; Gerald Ford v. Jimmy Carter.

This was the first presidential debate in 16 years. Responding to a question on foreign policy, Ford made a flabbergasting statement: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.”

Jaws dropped and eyeballs popped. One stunned journalist tried to follow up. No domination? Really? Ford dug in:

“I don’t believe the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don’t believe that the Rumanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don’t believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union.”

This was roughly equivalent to arguing that Napoleon traveled around Europe handing out presents and candy. [Back to list]

Don’t sweat the small stuff
October 28, 1980; Jimmy Carter v. Ronald Reagan.

Carter was badgering Reagan with facts. He had dug up hard data from the record to “prove” that Reagan would cut Medicare if elected.

Reagan glanced at a cue card, shook his head, chuckled, and said, “There you go again.”

Incredibly, this line demolished Carter. Where’s your fancy-pants logic now, Mr. Aristotle?

Curious footnote: Reagan’s cue card bore just one word: “Chuckle.”

Don’t run the same play twice
October 7, 1984; Ronald Reagan v. Walter Mondale.

Walter “Fritz” Mondale was badgering Reagan with facts.

Reagan glanced at a cue card, shook his head, chuckled, and said, “There you go again.”

Oops. Mondale was ready for this one. He turned to Reagan.

Do you remember the last time you said that?”

Reagan, looking suddenly frightened and old, nodded. Mondale bore in.

“It was when President Carter said you would cut Medicare if you got elected. And what did you do as soon as you got elected? You tried to cut… Medicare.”

For the next two weeks the Gipper battled rumors that he was senile. Footnote: Reagan won the election in a landslide.

If you’re a robot, hide it
October 13, 1988; George Bush v. Michael Dukakis.

Journalist Bernard Shaw opened the debate by asking Dukakis, “If [your wife] Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?”

Dukakis blinked–then launched into a mechanical recitation of crime statistics and positions he’d taken on this, that, and the other legislative bill.

Oh, Mike! Slow down and think about it! Your wife, Mike! If your wife–too late. Dukakis was stamped Ice Man. Footnote: On election day, he was still frozen.

Sincerity is the key
October 15, 1992; George Bush v. Bill Clinton v. H. Ross Perot.

A woman in the audience asked: “How has the national debt personally affected… your lives?”

Bush’s answer: “Well, I think the national debt affects everybody.”

“You personally,” she pressed.

“Obviously it has a lot to do with interest rates,” said Bush.

“You, on a personal basis–how has it affected you?” the woman asked.

“I’m sure it has,” said Bush. “I love my grandchildren…”

When Clinton got his turn, he grabbed the mike, walked to the audience, and gazed soulfully into the woman’s eyes.

“Do you know people who’ve lost their jobs and lost their homes?” he asked compassionately.

She nodded.

Clinton then shared his own suffering as “the governor of a small state” wrestling with the pain of ordinary people in these hard times.

“In my state,” he said, “when people lose their jobs, there’s a good chance I’ll know them by their names.”

Wow, who knew Arkansas was that small!


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