The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

October 3, 2012

10 memorable moments in presidential debates

President Barack Obama will debate Mitt Romney for the first time Wednesday night in arguably the most anticipated event of the campaign season.

Who doesn't like a good debate? Debates hold the potential to etch lasting impressions in voters' minds about presidential candidates' personalities and policy positions. And part of the appeal of debates stems from memories of past showdowns that have left enduring imprints on our collective political consciousness. (Though, as history shows, there are few examples of debates dramatically shifting the trajectory of a campaign.)

Below is our list of the top 10 moments from past presidential debates, in reverse chronological order. The rundown includes moments that shook up campaigns, others that revealed something telling about a candidate's temperament, and the zingers and one-liners against which all campaign quips are compared:

2008: John McCain calls Barack Obama "that one"

McCain's altogether head-scratching use of the term "that one" when discussing an energy bill Obama supported was not the kind of debate attention the Republican needed to generate as he sought to make up ground in the polls. It set off a round of post-debate debating in the media (was it a stroke of condescension, contempt, or was it just plain confusing?), which was not the kind of news the underdog McCain was hoping to generate.

2000: Al Gore's sighs

Debates are as much about conveying personality as politics. Gore's sighs at a debate with George W. Bush in 2000 came across as condescending, a perception that didn't help his cause in a historically close race.

1992: George H.W. Bush checks his watch

The incumbent conspicuously checked his watch just as an audience member began a question about how the national debt has affected him personally. What's more, it took the president a couple more minutes to come to terms with the question. The exchange fueled the contrast with Bill Clinton, who excelled at appearing to empathize more than the Republican.

Text Only
Local News
  • Mayor looks for fire committee members by Labor Day DANVILLE - Now with budget discussions done for the time being, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer is looking for people to serve on a committee to analyze the fire division and its future. He'd like recommendations from the committee to the city council by Labo

    April 16, 2014

  • Salary talks go on at meeting DANVILLE -- Few members of the Vermilion County Board came out strongly for or against the issue of salaries for county offices and positions. Members of the Vermilion County Board discussed the issue of salary increases for offices up for election i

    April 16, 2014

  • Hoopeston group discusses economic development

    Economic growth was on the agenda Monday night in Hoopeston as about 50 people gathered at St. Anthony's Parish Hall to discuss an economic development strategy for the city.

    April 15, 2014

  • Covington Middle School students win at Purdue Science Fair

    Eighth-grader A.J. Kline and seventh-graders Shiley Claypool and Diana Shelby told school board members about their science fair projects Monday night. They competed at the Lafayette Regional Science and Engineering Fair at Purdue University last month.

    April 15, 2014

  • Oakwood sells its water and sewer systems

    Village trustees are faced with a responsibility many small towns would love to have — what to do with $2 million in cash.

    April 15, 2014

  • Banquet to honor Shockey

    April 15, 2014

  • Job fair Wednesday at DACC

    April 15, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    April 15, 2014

  • SpaceX delays station delivery launch CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A space station cargo ship will remain Earthbound for a while longer. With less than two hours remaining, the Space X company called off Monday's planned launch from Cape Canaveral. A new launch date was not set; the next atte

    April 15, 2014

  • Police Report Incidents reported to police include: Danville Friday: Retail theft at All About Eyes, 3679 N. Vermilion St. Domestic battery and theft in the first block of Stroup Street. Burglary in the 400 block of Love Street. Possession of cannabis at East Main

    April 15, 2014

E-edition
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
NCAA basketball
NDN Video
8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Toddler climbs into vending machine Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio 2014 NFL Draft: Potential Booms And Busts William and Kate Squash Baby No. 2 Rumors With a Wine-Tasting Trip Who Showed Up at Coachella?
Must Read