The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

October 3, 2012

10 memorable moments in presidential debates

President Barack Obama will debate Mitt Romney for the first time Wednesday night in arguably the most anticipated event of the campaign season.

Who doesn't like a good debate? Debates hold the potential to etch lasting impressions in voters' minds about presidential candidates' personalities and policy positions. And part of the appeal of debates stems from memories of past showdowns that have left enduring imprints on our collective political consciousness. (Though, as history shows, there are few examples of debates dramatically shifting the trajectory of a campaign.)

Below is our list of the top 10 moments from past presidential debates, in reverse chronological order. The rundown includes moments that shook up campaigns, others that revealed something telling about a candidate's temperament, and the zingers and one-liners against which all campaign quips are compared:

2008: John McCain calls Barack Obama "that one"

McCain's altogether head-scratching use of the term "that one" when discussing an energy bill Obama supported was not the kind of debate attention the Republican needed to generate as he sought to make up ground in the polls. It set off a round of post-debate debating in the media (was it a stroke of condescension, contempt, or was it just plain confusing?), which was not the kind of news the underdog McCain was hoping to generate.

2000: Al Gore's sighs

Debates are as much about conveying personality as politics. Gore's sighs at a debate with George W. Bush in 2000 came across as condescending, a perception that didn't help his cause in a historically close race.

1992: George H.W. Bush checks his watch

The incumbent conspicuously checked his watch just as an audience member began a question about how the national debt has affected him personally. What's more, it took the president a couple more minutes to come to terms with the question. The exchange fueled the contrast with Bill Clinton, who excelled at appearing to empathize more than the Republican.

Text Only
Features
  • dog-sunglasses.jpg Do animals have a sense of humor?

    Right now, in a high-security research lab at Northwestern University's Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, scientists are tickling rats. Their goal? To develop a pharmaceutical-grade happiness pill. But their efforts might also produce some of the best evidence yet that humor isn't something experienced exclusively by human beings.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140317-AMX-DESIGN-FOOD178.jpg Fun and beautiful maps of the world made from signature regional foods

    Food stylist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves have collaborated on a series of food-based country maps composed of signature national ingredients.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • AvengerExt.jpg Avenger an American value

    If you’re someone who appreciates the golden age of domestic sedans — those big, comfortable, heavy-feeling cars with a uniquely American sense of style — this one ought to pique your interest.

    March 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 4.27.26 PM.png The glitz, the glamour and the movies: 3 apps for Oscar weekend

    With the Oscars approaching, this is a weekend for movies. Download these apps, then watch a few movies, create your own and settle in for the awards show.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140218-AMX-DESIGN-HOTEL182.jpg The rise of the hotel bakery

    One of the key trends in hotel design in recent years has been a sharp focus on creating a hotel lobby that is a destination, not just a pass-through.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • How the U.S. government spends millions to get people to eat more pizza

    WASHINGTON - It all adds up to a lot of calories: On an average day, the report notes, pizza provides 6 percent of the total caloric intake for American children and 4 percent for American adults.

    February 18, 2014

  • Mazda3Int.jpg Redesigned Mazda3 among best new small cars

    Mazda must be dabbling in black magic.
    How else can you explain the fact that this relatively small Japanese company is doing what no one else in the car industry seems to have figured out? They’re building cars that get amazing gas mileage and are exhilarating to drive at the same time.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SoulExt.jpg Soul is still stylin’

    Starting under $15,000, the Soul has always pegged its success on buyers who want a trendy, contemporary, eye-catching car without spending a ton of cash. And now that an all-new Soul is out for 2014, it shows that Kia is doubling down on this recipe of combining funky looks and an affordable price.

    February 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 01.jpg US News names its 'Best Cars for the Money'

    WASHINGTON - U.S. News & World Report Wednesday announced its annual Best Cars for the Money list on its Best Cars website.

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • You're doing it wrong: how to make better ramen

    NEW YORK — The finer points of instant ramen preparation may be up for debate, but the noodle cakes and flavor packets bequeathed to the world by Momofuku Ando are un-mess-up-able.

    February 10, 2014

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results