Anderson, Empty Chair"
Post, Sept. 11, 1980; A1 By T. R. Reid
early September, the League of Women Voters had determined
that Independent candidate John Anderson enjoyed enough
public support to justify his inclusion in the three scheduled
debates of 1980, the first of which was set to take place
on September 21. Worried that Anderson's candidacy threatened
to his campaign more than Reagan's, President Carter insisted
on first debating Reagan one-on-one before any three-way
debate. The LWV indicated that should Carter not attend
the first debate, as he ultimately did not, an empty chair
on the debate platform would signify his absence. In the
end, however, the LWV decided against the empty chair,
which by September 21 had become the topic of jokes and
What Nixon Learned"
Post, Sept. 14, 1980 By John Sears
years after the historic encounter between John F. Kennedy
and Richard M. Nixon, "Great Debate" still garnered interest.
Sears speculated on how Richard Nixon, made more politically
astute by the lessons of the first "Great Debate," would
have handled Independent candidate John Anderson's inclusion
in the 1980 debates.
topped Reagan in the Debate,
24, 1980; A3; Campaign Notes
to a poll conducted the day after their debate, 36 percent
of viewers who watched the debate believed Independent
candidate John Anderson performed better than Republican
candidate Ronald Reagan. 30 percent believed Reagan had
done better. President Carter had boycotted the debate
in protest of Anderson's inclusion as a third party candidate.
Despite Anderson's apparent debate victory, however, his
public support steadily declined through the fall campaign.
The League of Women Voters decided not to include him
in the debate that President Carter finally agreed to
on October 28. 1980; A3
"Debate to Allow Candidates
to Challenge Each Other"
Oct. 25, 1980; A6; Campaign
According to the debate format decided
upon by the League of Women Voters and representatives
of President Carter and Ronald Reagan, the candidates
were permitted to challenge one another directly through
a response-rebuttal-surrebuttal sequence. The 1960 and
1976 debates had not officially permitted such exchanges,
allowing the candidates only time for response and rebuttal.
It is unclear which candidate benefited from the format;
however, with the Reagan campaign apparently in possession
of Carter's debate briefing book, the advantage seems
to have been Reagan's.
Guidelines for Scoring the Debate"
Post, Oct. 26, 1980; by Jack Hilton
the article states, "So how can we tell who wins Tuesday's
televised debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan?
Try the following guidelines, which aren't so much guidelines
for debating as they are for television, which is more
important to the participants." The guidelines are: 1)
Be yourself; 2) Be liked; 3) Be prepared; 4) Be Enthusiastic;
5) Be specific; 6) Be correct; 7) Be anecdotal; 8) Be
a listener; 9) Build bridges; 10) Be cool.
Getcha Score Card Here!: Now YOU TOO Can Judge the Debate
with These 10 E-Z Point Categories"
Post, Oct. 28, 1980; by Tony Kornheiser
the flip side of 10 guidelines, Kornheiser offered a satirical
piece with suggestions on how to determine who the winner
of the Carter-Reagan debate. His suggested categories:
1) Tan; 2) Rip and Rep; 3) Misty Eyes; 4) Methods of Non-Response-actually
"War, Peace Dominate Debate"
Oct. 29, 1980; A1; By Lou
Cannon & Edward Walsh
Incumbent president Jimmy Carter and
Republican candidate Ronald Reagan debated only once,
only a week before the election. As evidenced by the exchanges
between the candidates, President Carter's strategy was
to characterize Reagan as a "hawk," and one who could
not be trusted to pursue nuclear arms reduction. Former
Governor Reagan, on the other hand, sought to emphasize
the Carter administration's failed economic policies and
the country's high inflation and unemployment. Although
there was no clear winner, Carter was unable to convince
voters he deserved to be re-elected.
Dept. Asks FBI to Join Probe of Briefing Papers"
Post, July 1, 1983; A1; By Martin
briefing papers in question refer to President Jimmy Carters
notes for his debate with Ronald Reagan in 1980. How these
came to be in the possession of Reagan's campaign was
a question that the FBI and the Justice Dept. were trying
to find out. About a week before their debate, Carter
relied on a 200 page briefing book to help him prepare.
The book contained information on Carter's debate strategy,
and would have proved quite useful to Reagan for the debate.
David Stockman and David Gergen apparently relied on the
papers in helping Reagan to prepare.
Had Plan for Every Step in 1980 Debate"
Post, July 2, 1983; A2: Howard Kurtz
outlines the content of the papers Ronald Reagan's campaign
had before his debate with Jimmy Carter in 1980. Kurtz
wrote: "Each candidate was armed with a wealth of negative
news clippings, selected statistics and pointed quotations
calculated to embarrass the opponent. The documents also
show that the Reagan camp, which had obtained much of
Carter's debate briefing materials, successfully anticipated
and parried many of the Democratic president's planned
lines of attack." The article provides numerous examples
of some of the information find in the campaign files.
It seems to affirm the idea that debates are little more
than tightly scripted political advertisements, with whole
lines scripted, quotations from the opponent. The article
also demonstrates how much preparation is under taken,
although certainly memorized lines take precedence over