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The History Of Presidential Debates In America, 13 Facts.

Tonight the whole world is looking forward to witness what seem to be one of the most remarkable election debate since the inception of humanity, the moment Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump mount that podium, of a truth i tell you the feeling everywhere changes. As we await that time, lets have a glance at the 13 quick facts about the history of presidential debate in the United States, put together by Forbes.

1. While the first American TV station began broadcasting on July 2, 1928, the first debate between major party presidential candidates wasn’t shown on television until 1960. The candidates? Then serving Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy and then serving Vice President Richard M. Nixon. Kennedy won the first debate – and the election.

2. More than 1 in 3 Americans, or 66.4 million viewers, tuned in for that first televised presidential debate, making it one of the most-watched broadcasts in television history. The U.S. population at the time was 180.7 million; today, the U.S. population is estimated to be 324.7 million.

   

3. The 1960 presidential debate series proved to be fatal for Nixon, who was said to be ill and declined stage makeup for the first debate. When he returned as a presidential candidate in 1968, he declined to debate his opponent, then serving Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Nixon won the presidential election that year.

4. Following the skipped debates in 1968, voters wouldn’t see another televised presidential debate until 1976 where eventual President Jimmy Carter debated then serving President Gerald Ford. Presidential debates have been held in every presidential campaign since that time.

5. 1976 also marked the introduction of vice presidential debates which have regularly been held since 1984. Let’s be honest: rarely do voters pay attention and rarely are these debates memorable. There is, however, one exception. In the 1988 debate between Dan Quayle and Lloyd Bentsen, Quayle suggested he had as much experience as former President John F. Kennedy. Bentsen retorted with the now famous lines, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

6. In the 1980 presidential debate against then President Jimmy Carter, former President Reagan delivered the infamous line, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Voters answered at the polls, ushering Reagan in for two terms. Some variation of that line has since been used by a number of presidential candidates since that time.

7. When former President Reagan debated former Vice President Walter Mondale in 1984, there was concern that Reagan was too old. At age 73, some voters were concerned that he was too old. Reagan countered by saying, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” making even Mondale smile.

8. Many folks believe (falsely) that former President George H. W. Bush uttered the memorable phrase, “Read my lips: no new taxes” during the presidential debates. He did not. He made that promise at the 1988 Republican National Convention when he accepted the Republican party’s nomination.

9. In 1992, the debates also featured a third-party candidate, Independent candidate Ross Perot. He debated against then serving President George H. W. Bush and then serving Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton. Clinton won the presidency that year.

10. Hofstra University, which took over as the site for tonight’s debate after Wright State University withdrew, is the only school to host presidential debates in three consecutive campaign cycles.

11. The most-watched presidential debate in history was said to be the Reagan-Carter debates of 1980, when 80.2 million individual viewers tuned in. However, Nielsen ranks the 2012 debate between President Barack Obama and then serving Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney higher: while it drew just 67.2 million individual viewers, the debate was watched by 46.2 million households, just slightly more than the 45.8 million who turned in during 1980. Tonight’s presidential debate between Clinton and Trump could beat them all: as many as one in three voters expect to make up their minds about their vote during the debate.

 

 

12. Since 1987, the bipartisan organization, Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has controlled presidential debates, including the locations and the moderators. You can read more, including transcripts from past debates, about presidential debate history from the (CPD) here.

13. The 2008 presidential debates showed how much technology is changing the debate landscape: questions for the candidates were submitted by voters via YouTube. That social media influence was apparent during the last cycle of primary debates where voters submitted questions for the candidates via Facebook. In 2016, live streams of the debate will be available on YouTube and Twitter.

The first presidential debate of major party candidates for the 2016 election happens tonight, September 26, 2016, at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York. The moderator will be Lester Holt, an anchor for NBC Nightly News. The debate will air from 9 pm to 10:30 pm ET (8 pm – 9:30 pm CT, 7 pm – 8:30 pm MT, 6 pm – 7:30 pm PT) on C-SPAN, as well as the major networks (ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC) and cable news channels.

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