Political Debates: What the Unforgettable Moments Reveal | Retro Report



This is the latest story in our living library, where we update stories as new events arise. Tell-all moments in political debates are embedded in political folklore, from knockout one-liners to astonishing gaffes. High-stakes debates put candidates in the hot seat. But are they helpful to voters?

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Some dismissed the televised debates in 1960 between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy as a spectacle. Critics argued they would “corrupt the public judgment.”

Critics say debate coverage in recent elections has become more like a circus, but political strategist Anita Dunn says debates give voters a chance to see candidates “unvarnished, accountable to each other and tested against each other.”

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