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Watch | Five key moments from past US presidential debates

us-presidential-election Updated: Sep 25, 2016 16:33 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
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Five interesting moments from the previous presidential debates. (Shutterstock)

US Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are preparing for what may turn out to be the most important 90 minutes of American political history, set to unfold at 6:30 am IST on Tuesday .

Republican Trump and Democrat Clinton will face off for the first time in the first of three scheduled presidential debates on Monday at the Hofstra University on Long Island, New York.

According to analysts, this debate could turn out to be the most watched events in television history with an audience expected to exceed 100 million. It could beat a record set in 1980 when 80 million Americans watched Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan battle it out, CBS News reported.

Here are five interesting moments from the previous presidential debates.

Read | All about the US presidential debate

Carter versus Ford, 1976

President Gerald Ford, who got the presidency after Richard Nixon’s ignominious exit following Watergate, was up on the stage against challenger Jimmy Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia. And Ford did himself in. “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there will be never be under the Ford administration,” he said.

When challenged by the moderator, Ford dug in, saying he believed the Yugoslavians, the Romanians or the Poles considered themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. The answer arguably cost him the election.

Watch the full debate here.

Reagan versus Mondale, 1984

When asked abut his age and ability to cope with the rigours of office, Ronald Reagan deadpanned, “I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience”

As the room erupted, even Mondale couldn’t help himself and broke into grin. Reagan coolly reached for a glass of water

Watch the full debate here.

George H W Bush versus Michael Dukakis, 1988

Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis who had been opposed to the death penalty was asked - what if his wife was raped and murdered? Would he favour the death penalty for the killer?

Dukakis’ principled answer, consistent with his life-long stand on the issue, made him look cold, heartless and unemotional. Bush, the vice-president, went on to win his first term.

Watch the full debate here.

George H W Bush versus Clinton, 1992

Running for a second term, George H W Bush seemed impatient debating challengers Bill Clinton, a Democrat, and Ross Perot, a businessman who ran as an independent.

As Bush rose from his stool — it was a town-hall style debate — he stole a long look at his wristwatch, and seemed distracted as a member of the audience asked him her question.

Bush didn’t get it, said he had misheard the question, and had to be prompted by the moderator to straighten out his answer. Even that didn’t work, and he asked the questioner to try again.

Bush lost to Clinton, who went on to serve two terms.

Watch the full debate here.

Obama versus Romney, 2012

Flush from a bumper performance in the first debate, Mii Romney, the Republican nominee thought he had cornered President Barack Obama, catching him out on an inconsistency and calling it a lie. “You said in the Rose Garden the day after the (Benghazi, Libya) attack, it was an act of terror?”

Arching both his eyebrows, he darted a got-you-pal look at Obama, who intoned icily, “Please proceed, governor.” Romney turned to the moderator, asking her to note and seal the lie. But she sided with the president, saying, “He did, in fact, sir.”

Watch the full debate here.