5 Memorable Moments in Vice-Presidential Debate History

PHOTO: Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, Sen Joe Biden, D-Del., talk with each other after their vice presidential debate, Oct. 2, 2008, in St. Louis, Missouri.PlayDon Emmert, Pool/AP Photo
WATCH The Most Awkward Political Debate Moments

Tonight, two relatively unknown politicians will be thrust into the national spotlight for the vice-presidential debate.

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Tim Kaine, the junior Democratic senator from Virginia, and Mike Pence, the Republican governor of Indiana, will take the stage tonight at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

Here are five memorable moments in veep debate history ahead of Pence and Kaine’s faceoff tonight:

1984 - George H. W. Bush and Geraldine Ferraro

PHOTO: Vice-President George H. Bush makes a point as Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro speaks, Oct. 12, 1984, during debate in Philadelphia. Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo
Vice-President George H. Bush makes a point as Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro speaks, Oct. 12, 1984, during debate in Philadelphia.

The 1984 election featured the first female member of a major-party ticket in Geraldine Ferraro, a New York congresswoman chosen for the No. 2 spot by Democrat Walter Mondale. Displaying a New York toughness, Ferraro stood up to George H. W. Bush after the sitting vice president explained the difference between U.S. intervention in Iran and in Lebanon during the past decade.

“Let me just say, first of all, that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy,” responded Ferraro.

Despite the retort, Bush seemed pleased with his performance the next day, saying -- without realizing he was near a microphone -- that he “tried to kick a little ass last night.”

1988 - Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle

PHOTO: Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, speaks during his Vice Presidential debate with Sen. Dan Quayle, R-Ind., at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, Oct. 5, 1988. Ron Edmonds/AP Photo
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, speaks during his Vice Presidential debate with Sen. Dan Quayle, R-Ind., at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Nebraska, Oct. 5, 1988.

Sen. Dan Quayle, George H. W. Bush’s running mate, was just 41 years old when he was selected, and faced questions about his relative youth and inexperience throughout the race. Facing off against 67-year-old Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Quayle tried to defend himself by pointing to another youthful politician.

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

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

1992 - Al Gore, James Stockdale and Dan Quayle

The only three-person veep debate in history was between Democratic VP nominee Al Gore, Republican VP nominee Dan Quayle, and Admiral James Stockdale, Ross Perot’s running mate on the independent ticket.

During the 1992 debate in Atlanta, Georgia, Stockdale made the fated decision to begin his opening statements with, "Who am I? Why I am here?"

It elicited applause and laughter from the audience.

"I’m not a politician, everybody knows that," Stockdale said. "So don’t expect me to use the language of the Washington insider."

The Vietnam veteran stumbled through the rest of the debate.

2004 - Dick Cheney and John Edwards

The 2004 debate featured Vice President Dick Cheney and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who was just completing his first term in Washington. Cheney honed in on Edwards’ inexperience during their back-and-forth, highlighting his anonymity on the Hill.

"The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight," Cheney -- who, as vice president, served as president of the Senate -- said.

2008 - Joe Biden and Sarah Palin

PHOTO: Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks prior to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trumps arrival during the opening session of the Western Conservative Summit, July 1, 2016, in Denver.David Zalubowski/AP Photo
Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks prior to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's arrival during the opening session of the Western Conservative Summit, July 1, 2016, in Denver.

A record 70 million Americans tuned in to watch the Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin face off against then-Sen. Joe Biden at Washington University in St. Louis.

Kicking off the debate, the two candidates walked on stage, waved to the crowd, and then shook hands.

It was then that Republican Sen. John McCain’s running mate, Palin asked Biden: "Can I call you Joe?"

Biden answered, "You can call me Joe."
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