Carter & Mondale Debates | Ronald Reagan's Best Moments in Debates

May 08, 2018
IN HIS WORDS

 

Ronald Reagan’s Best Moments in Debates

President Ronald Reagan was known as the “Great Communicator,” a title that reflected his commanding, yet congenial, speaking style. With a background in acting, Ronald Reagan was a natural public orator, and cleverly harnessed the nation’s exploding reliance on television to his advantage when it came to going head to head with political opponents.

The Ronald Reagan debates, held in years leading up to his presidential administration, as well as during and even after, captivated supporters, who were energized by getting to see their leader in action. He was known to use wit and even his mannerisms to communicate points in these debates, but he also addressed the issues seriously and defended his positions aggressively.

In the fall of 2015, the Ronald Reagan Library debate brought together a handful of the leading GOP presidential contenders, many of whom likely sought to model their performances after those of the Great Communicator.

Here are a few of the best moments from the famous Ronald Reagan debates:

“There you go again”: At the 1980 Jimmy Carter-Ronald Reagan debate, Reagan was just days out from unseating the incumbent president, and many say the debate played a significant role in his eventual victory. Among the most famous moments of the event, Ronald Reagan sighed and said, “There you go again,” when Jimmy Carter started criticizing his record. The interaction illustrated Ronald Reagan’s confidence and ability to minimize opposition, not to mention that it elicited lots of laughs from the public. Reagan was trailing Carter by about eight points in polls going into the debate and, after the event, which was one of the highest-rated television programs in years, surged ahead.

“Are you better off than you were four years ago?”: In that same debate, Reagan famously asked Americans, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The question was succinct and straightforward and, clearly, resonated with voters.

“Youth and inexperience”: In his debate with Walter Mondale, who sought to prevent Reagan from a second presidential term, the president was asked if his own advancing age could be problematic for his tenure. Reagan turned the question on its head, pledging not to make “age an issue of this campaign.” He went on, however, to jokingly commit to avoid exploiting his opponent’s “youth and inexperience.”

 

             

 

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