The presidential debates are here, everyone! And everyone’s going to be there. In honor of this very exciting occasion (we’re tailgating), here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Presidential debates.
1. The Lincoln-Douglas debates weren’t Presidential debates. You probably thought they were. They were running for Senate. And they weren’t debating for citizens. Citizens didn’t vote for the Senate, state legislatures did. Shit was crazy in the 1800s.
2. All of their seven debates were about slavery. That used to be a big thing. Stenographers came to their debates. Newspapers that supported Douglas and slavery corrected grammatical errors made by the stenographers, while leaving Lincoln’s speeches in their rough form. He looked like a YouTube commenter. Lincoln edited them himself for a book after he was elected. The book was popular enough to get him nominated for President.
3. Both candidates spoke for about 90 minutes. Whoever went second did 90 in a row. That was back when candidates knew about stuff.
4. In 1940, Republican candidate Wendell Wilkie challenged Franklin Roosevelt to a debate and he refused. FDR had that whole wheelchair secret to keep.
5. The first televised debate was in 1960 between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Nixon grossed out the national audience. People who listened on the radio thought Nixon won the debate. Because they couldn’t see how gross he was. Kennedy ended up winning the election because the TV audience was so grossed out by Nixon, who had some gross knee injury and looked like a grossout.
6. The second series of televised debates didn’t take place again until 1976 between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. No word on whether or not they made Nixon to promise not to be there. Ford said something stupid about the Soviet Union and he lost the election. That was back when saying dumb stuff was considered bad if you wanted to be President or VP.
7. In 1980, Ronald Reagan destroyed Carter in the debates. He’d totally been in front of the camera a bunch before. He played “the Gipper” in some movie in the ’40′s and co-starred with a monkey in another movie kinda like Matt LeBlanc did in Ed. Except not as many oldy time Republicans get boners about Matt LeBlanc.
8. In the 1988 Vice Presidential debate, Lloyd Benson told Dan Quayle, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Quayle threw down a smoke bomb, disappeared and was only seen from again when he would released tapes from a hidden cave. Most of the tapes were about Murphy Brown being a bad mother.
9. In 1992, billionaire Ross Perot joined the debates. It was crazy because Dana Carvey had to pull double duty on SNL parodies.
10. In 1984, George H. W. Bush debated Geraldine Ferraro in the VP debates. During the debates Bush said, “Let me help you with the difference, Mrs. Ferraro, between Iran and the embassy in Lebanon.” Ferraro’s responded with, “I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy.” After the debate, Bush bragged that he had “kicked a little ass.” It wasn’t considered sexist because Ferraro, in actuality, had a pretty big can.
Comedy.com’s ListMaster is Mike Bridenstine. He’s also no Jack Kennedy.