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.



Michael Dukakis debates George H.W. Bush in 1988, as seen on TV News Archive.

2012 — Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

October 22, Presidential Debate at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida

October 16, Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York Part 1Part 2.

October 11, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan Vice Presidential Debate at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky Part 1. Part 2.

October 3, Presidential Debate at the University of Denver Part 1. Part 2.

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.

October 2, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin Vice Presidential Debate in St. Louis, Missouri Part 1. Part 2.

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.

October 5, Dick Cheney and John Edwards Vice Presidential Debate in Cleveland.

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.

October 3, Presidential Debate in Boston Part 1. Part 2.

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.

October 15, Presidential Debate in Richmond, Virginia Part 1. Part 2.

October 13, Al Gore, Dan Quayle and James Stockdale Vice Presidential Debate in Atlanta Part 1.

October 11, Presidential Debate in St. Louis Part 1. Part 2.

1988 — George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis 

October 13, Presidential Debate in Los Angeles Part 1. Part 2.

October 5, Lloyd Bentsen and Dan QuayleVice Presidential Debate in Omaha, Nebraska. Part 2.

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 11, George H.W. Bush and Geraldine Ferraro Vice Presidential Debate in Philadelphia Part 1. Part 2.

October 7, Presidential Debate in Louisville, Kentucky Part 1. Part 2.

1980 — Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and John Anderson

October 28, Presidential Debate in Cleveland, Part 1. Part 2.

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.

May 4, John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey Democratic primary Debate West Virginia Part 1. Part 2.