Debate One-Liners, Gaffes of Yesteryear

Following are some of the most memorable zingers, one-liners and blunders from past presidential and vice-presidential debates.


Vice-Presidential Debate, Oct. 6, 1988:

Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, reinforces a perception that his opponent, Sen. Dan Quayle, R-Ind., lacks experience.

Quayle: "I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency."

Bentsen: "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

Presidential Debate, Oct. 21, 1984:

President Ronald Reagan, 73, responds to questions of whether his advanced age should be a factor in the presidential race.

Reagan: "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

Democratic Primary Debate, March 11, 1984:

Former Vice President Walter Mondale, addressing Sen. Gary Hart, D-Colo., quotes the Wendy's fast food chain's popular advertising slogan that mocked the size of its competitors' hamburgers.

Mondale: "When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad, 'Where's the beef?' "

Presidential Debate, Oct. 28, 1980:

Gov. Ronald Reagan, R-Calif., accuses President Jimmy Carter of misrepresenting his views on the issues.

Carter: "These are the kinds of elements of a national health insurance important to the American people. Gov. Reagan, again, typically, is against such a proposal."

Reagan: "Governor, there you go again."

During the same forum, Reagan asks viewers whether their lives have improved under Carter's tenure.

Reagan: "Ask yourself, 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago?' "


Presidential Debate, Oct. 3, 2000:

Vice President Al Gore is caught on camera sighing and rolling his eyes during answers by his opponent, Gov. George W. Bush, R-Texas.

Presidential Debate, Oct. 15, 1992:

President George Bush is caught on camera glancing at his watch, fueling a charge that he is disengaged.

Vice-Presidential Debate, Oct. 13, 1992:

Adm. William Stockdale, vice-presidential running mate to independent candidate Ross Perot, inadvertently prompts laughter as he attempts to introduce himself to voters.

Stockdale: "Who am I? Why am I here? I'm not a politician."

Presidential Debate, Oct. 13, 1988:

Gov. Michael Dukakis, D-Mass., responds coldly to a question on whether he would favor the death penalty if his wife were raped and murdered.

Dukakis: "I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don't see any evidence that it's a deterrent, and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime."

Presidential Debate, Oct. 6, 1976:

President Gerald Ford makes a puzzling remark on world affairs at the height of the Cold War.

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

Presidential Debate, Sept. 26, 1960:

Television viewers see Vice President Richard Nixon sweating and appearing uncomfortable, in contrast to his seemingly relaxed opponent, Sen. John F. Kennedy, D-Mass.

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