Table of Contents

History and Significance

Bell Ringer: Do debates matter in elections? (4:28)

Bell Ringer: Presidential Election Debates (6:36)

Video Clip: History of Final Presidential Debates (10/19/2016- 2:41)

Video Clip: Purpose of Presidential Commission on Debates (11/3/2014- 3:25)

Role of TV and Social Media

PBS Newshour anchor Jim Lehrer and University of Montana Journalism Professor Lee Banville on presidential candidates and the importance of charisma and oratorical skills in establishing their legitimacy.

Historic Debates

Video Clip: 2016 Republican Presidential Primary Debate (1/29/2016- 3:54)

A look at the final Republican Presidential candidate debate before the February 1, 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

Video Clip: 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate (12/20/2015- 2:22)

A look at the Democratic presidential candidate debate in Manchester, NH. A clip of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton discussing foreign policy issues was included.

Video Clip: 2000 South Carolina Republican Candidates Debate (2/15/2000- 3:41)

Republican presidential candidates Gov. George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain debate negative attacks ads.

Video Clip: 1984 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate (2/11/1984- 4:56)

Candidates for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination participated in a debate, including former Vice President Walter Mondale and Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Video Clip: 1980 Republican Presidential Primary Debate (4/23/1980- 2:43)

Former Governor Ronald Reagan (R-CA) and former CIA director George H.W. Bush participated in a debate for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination.

Video Clip: 1960 Kennedy - Nixon Debate (9/26/1960- 1:02:55)

Presidential candidates Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon participated in the first-ever televised presidential candidates' debate.

Senators John F. Kennedy (D-MA) and Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) participated in the 1960 West Virginia Democratic primary debate.

Culminating Questions:

      • How have political debates evolved in the last few decades?
      • How has the impact of technology (television/social media) influenced the debate process?
      • How are the Presidential debates set up and planned?
      • Who makes the decisions concerning the rules and style of the debates?
      • Does a candidate‚Äôs performance during a debate critically impact their standing in the election?
      • How do the questions that the debate moderators ask and the presentation of candidates on TV affect the candidate during the general election?