Jimmy Carter And Reagan Campaign Debate
Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan participated in only one debate during the 1980 election. The main subject of the debate was the issue of the hostage situation in Iran where the American Embassy was bombed. Topics like arms control, energy crisis, social security and other programs were also discussed at length in the same platform.
When President Carter challenged Reagan on his Medicare proposition, Reagan very shrewdly dismissed him by saying “there you go again”. This debate was called the General Election Presidential Debate. The debate was broadcasted on national television. There was a fierce contest between Reagan and Carter. Reagan clearly avoided the disagreeable questions, and Carter had a mean streak according to observers. For Carter, he had a lot of explanations to give to the general population regarding the Iranian radicals holding nearly fifty-two Americans hostage for a year. The inflation was also high during that period. Carter already lost a lot of popularity during the time of re-election.
Just one week before the election, the debate diminished Carter popularity even more. When Carter raised the issue of Medicare, Reagan dismissed the question, and instead asked him if the country was in better shape than what it was four years ago. Reagan also asked Carter if there was less employment than four years ago to which Carter fell silent and this completely sealed his fate in the election.
Reagan’s questions were well planned and rehearsed to bring down Carter, and it led to Carter losing the re-election. Many believe that if Jimmy Carter had not participated in the debate, then he would probably have won the elections. Carter completely under-estimated Reagan oratory and debate skills, and dug a big hole for himself on the debate platform.
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