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Presidential Debate Preview

Jason DeSanto joins Carol Marin with a preview of what to expect in the first 2012 presidential debate on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.


As President Obama and Mitt Romney gear up for the first presidential debate, we take a look at some memorable moments in previous presidential and vice-presidential debates in our web extra video.


 As history has shown, debates can have a significant impact on candidates, especially when they are able to diminish their perceived weakness.

-1960, John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon, Presidential Debate
This was a historical landmark as the first-ever televised presidential debate. This allowed voters to visually see candidates in competition, and the contrasts were dramatic.

-1984, Ronald Reagan vs. Walter Mondale, Presidential Debate
Reagan was the oldest presidential candidate in history at that time. When asked if he thought age was a problem, he nailed his response in a serious but affable way joking that he would not “exploit his opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

-1988, Lloyd Bentsen vs. Dan Quayle, Vice-Presidential Debate
During the campaign, Quayle had stated several times that he had as much experience as Jack Kennedy did. Bentsen told Quayle during the debate, “You’re no Jack Kennedy.” This zinger became one of the most memorable points of the debate.

-1992, George H.W. Bush vs. Bill Clinton, Presidential Debate
H.W. Bush looked at his watch during the debate, appearing bored. Viewers took this gesture as a sign he didn’t really care about the issues currently facing the country.

-2000, Al Gore vs. George W. Bush, Presidential Debate
Though Gore was more articulate than Bush during this debate, his sighing hurt his image. He seemed irritated with everything Bush was saying, and his sighs came off as condescending.

-2008, Barack Obama vs. Hillary Clinton, Democratic Primary Debates
Hillary Clinton was asked how she is responding to voters not thinking she is as likeable as Obama. In her answer, Obama chimes in saying, “You’re likeable enough.” This joke backfired on Obama, receiving criticism that he was insensitive.