21, 1980; Baltimore, Maryland
Moderator: Bill Moyers, PBS
Anderson's remarks to Carter's absence
Anderson, a Republican Congressman from Illinois, chose to
run as an Independent after Ronald Reagan received the Republican
nomination. Anderson's poll ratings at the time the first
presidential debate of 1980 was organized qualified him, according
to the League of Women Voters, to participate. President Carter,
however, refused to participate in a three-candidate debate.
In his closing remarks, Anderson addressed Carter's absence
and refuted the charge that he was a "spoiler" by drawing
a distinction between himself and Ronald Reagan.
Reagan's closing arguments
candidate Ronald Reagan made the most of President Carter's
absence from the first presidential debate of 1980. His closing
arguments had a powerful effect, much as they would a month
later in his debate with President Carter. (According to the
League of Women Voters, Anderson's subsequent decline in the
poll ratings justified his exclusion from the second presidential
29, 1980; Cleveland, Ohio
Moderator: Howard K. Smith, ABC News
Carter addresses the Iranian Hostage Crisis
the defining crises of President Carter's presidency was the
Iranian hostage crisis, and on the date of his only debate
with Ronald Reagan, the hostages had been held for almost
a year. President Carter addressed the issue in response to
a question put to him by Barbara Walters.
Carter, nuclear arms and Amy's consultation
arms treaties and proliferation were major issues in the debate
between President Carter and Ronald Reagan. Just as John F.
Kennedy had raised questions about "trigger-happy" Republicans
in his campaign against Richard Nixon, Carter's campaign sought
to portray Reagan as a reckless "hawk." It came as no surprise,
then, when the candidates repeatedly clashed over the nuclear
weapons issue in their debate. But it was Carter's reference
to his consultation with daughter Amy that became the focus
of post-debate analysis and late-night television jokes.
his closing remarks, Ronald Reagan asked a simple yet devastating
question that would resonate with voters in 1980 and beyond:
"Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" For
many voters, the answer was clearly "No."