“There you go again.” Ronald Reagan’s famous one-liner thrown at Jimmy Carter in 1980 is one of many memorable moments from presidential debates.
As we head into the first of three presidential debates with President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney, it is a good time to look back at the 50-plus years of televised debates for the highest office in the land.
Perhaps the most famous televised debate also was the first when Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon met in 1960. Those who listened to the debate on the radio, said Nixon, who was recovering from flu-like symptoms, won the war of words. Those who viewed it on TV gave their approval to the youthful and stylish Kennedy.
There are two more debates with Obama and Romney after tonight’s meeting in Denver. Will substance carry the evening, or will style? Perhaps it will be a well-delivered one-liner that turns the tide for either candidate.
How to localize:
Use the Web and social media to ask readers what influences them during a debate: Are they moved by presentation and looks? Or do they cut through the distractions and focus on the message?
Collect some of the more memorable presidential debates of the past and ask readers to rank them or offer their recollections.
How important are the debates? Ask local officials on both ends of the political spectrum.