Memorable Presidential Debate Moments

1788: Though he ran unopposed, George Washington stumbled in the polls in October when he had to defend his patriotism against a political action group called Delaware River Crossers for Truth.

1792: Washington surprises many by saying he will only nominate strict constructionists to the Supreme Court.

1800: If there was a goddamned rule against a candidate bringing a pistol to a vice presidential debate, nobody told Aaron Burr, that’s for goddamned sure.

1860: Abraham Lincoln impresses voters by responding to each of Stephen Douglas’ arguments by shaking his head and saying, “There you go again.”

1808-1856; 1868-1900: Probably some debates about some important issues of the day happened or whatever.

1912: William Howard Taft ensures his defeat after devouring third party candidate Teddy Roosevelt on stage.

1916: Woodrow Wilson promises a wild card playoff round for the League of Nations if reelected.

1924: Calvin Coolidge vows not to utter more than two words in history’s briefest presidential debate. (“23 skidoo.”)

1932: Herbert Hoover never has a prayer when third and final debate is held at Hooverville University.

1940: Franklin Roosevelt shrewdly rounds up all opponents and sends them to internment camps in Utah.

1948: Harry S Truman tells Americans that if they don’t elect him, they can go to hell.

1960: Remembering that he has a date with Jayne Mansfield, John Kennedy sends his brother Bobby to pinch hit in a debate versus Richard Nixon.

1968: Richard Nixon overwhelmingly wins debate with his own conscience.

1976: Senator Palpatine’s third party candidacy fails to gain enough traction to get him invited to the Ford-Carter debates.

1980: Ronald Reagan guarantees hostage release if elected, smiles and winks into camera.

1988: After poor showing at debates, Michael Dukakis fires campaign advisor Willie Horton.

1992: In a moment that may have cost him the election, George H. W. Bush is caught checking his pocket watch, as his monocle falls into his chardonnay, which spills onto his wingtips, forcing his indentured servant to hustle onto stage and clean them.

1996: Bob Dole says Bob Dole won’t support estate tax on Bob Dole.

2000: Al Gore debates George W. Bush. People saw this, right?

2008: Nation completely exhausts “Joe the Plumber” jokes in a record 48 hours.


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