September 22, 2016
Research by Robin Chin
With pollsters predicting a tightening presidential race, the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, which will take place on September 26, 2016 at Hofstra University, could draw a large audience. The expectation is that sparks will fly — but exactly how, and what will be remembered, belongs to the (near) future.
Many historical presidential debates from the television era, however, are just some keystrokes and mouse clicks away, searchable and viewable on the TV News Archive. Here you can find the gaffes, visuals, and the repeated phrases, from Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” to Michael Dukakis’ response about whether he’d favor the death penalty if his wife were attacked (His answer was “no.”) But, it’s also possible to see the substantive exchanges between candidates on issues, such as taxes, the environment, and criminal justice — issues that often get lost in quick takes about debates.
Below are debates listed by presidential year back to 1960. (There were no official televised presidential debates between 1960 and 1976.) Hyperlinks go to debate footage on the TV News Archive. As more debates become available on the TV News Archive, we will add new links. These are presented in 60-second increments, with closed captioning. They can be searched, edited, embedded and shared on social media.
2012 — Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
2008 — Barack Obama and John McCain
October 15, Presidential Debate in Hempstead, New York, Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.
October 7, Presidential Debate in Nashville, Tennessee.
September 26, Presidential Debate in Oxford, Mississippi.
2004 — George W. Bush and John Kerry
October 13, Presidential Debate in Tempe, Arizona.
October 8, Presidential Debate in St. Louis, Missouri.
September 30, Presidential Debate in Coral Gables, Florida.
2000 — George W. Bush and Al Gore
October 17, Presidential Debate in St. Louis.
October 11, Presidential Debate in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
October 5, Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman Vice Presidential Debate in Danville, Kentucky.
1996 — Bill Clinton and Bob Dole
October 16, Presidential Debate in San Diego.
October 9, Al Gore and Jack Kemp Vice Presidential Debate in St. Petersburg.
October 6, Presidential Debate in Hartford.
1992 — Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot
October 19, Presidential Debate in East Lansing, Michigan.
1988 — George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis
September 25, Presidential Debate in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
1984 — Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale
October 21, Presidential Debate in Kansas City, Missouri Part 1. Part 2.
October 7, Presidential Debate in Louisville, Kentucky Part 1. Part 2.
1980 — Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and John Anderson
September 21, Presidential Debate in Baltimore (Reagan-Anderson).
1976 — Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter
October 22, Presidential Campaign Debate in Williamsburg, Virginia.
October 15, Robert Dole and Walter Mondale Vice Presidential Debate in Houston.
October 6, Presidential Campaign Debate in San Francisco.
September 23, Presidential Campaign Debate in Philadelphia.
1960 — John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon
October 21, Presidential Debate in New York.
October 13, Presidential Debate Broadcast from New York and Los Angeles.
October 7, Presidential Debate in Washington, DC.
September 26, Presidential Debate in Chicago.