Eight Lessons for the Presidential Debates
What are the key dos and don'ts the candidates should remember when campaigning for the White House?
- By Kenneth C. Davis
- Smithsonian.com, October 03, 2012
In the 1988 vice presidential debate, then Vice President Dan Quayle declared that he had as much experience as John F. Kennedy had when he ran for President. Quayle was left standing with a “deer-in-the-headlights” look when his opponent, Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, verbally undressed him: “I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
While Quayle’s following protest got lost, the exchange did nothing to alter the outcome. Bush-Quayle easily defeated the Dukakis-Bentsen ticket. But Bentsen, who died in 2006 at 85 and served as Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, had entered the presidential debate pantheon.