How much influence do final debates have on elections?
Presidential historian weighs in
- Duration 4:16
- Date Oct 21, 2012
Presidential historian weighs in
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716 and tomorrow night President Obama and governor Mitt Romney will go head to head.
And foreign policy and their third and final presidential debate so just how influential have passed final debate spent.
In terms of the outcome of the election presidential historian nick went down joins us now from Washington this morning so how important is the final debate.
Well their critical it's the last chance of voters have to see the two candidates together.
On the same stage and trying to evaluate them one -- one up close and unscripted so I think it's critical now it's only been about thirty years since we've had three debates parts that there was only one debate so.
This is kind of a make or break if Romney won the first one and Obama did -- on the second want.
This could be the decider right here -- that's for sure that you have -- watched both of these men and sort of these clutch moments before what do you think -- batter in the clutch.
You know it's a great questions cover sports -- -- you know I think they both have this -- both of their weaknesses.
Clearly President Obama wasn't ready for the first debate whether he took it for -- that he didn't -- right he simply put is beneath that whatever was he wasn't there.
Mitt Romney was the second debate I think that probably got thrown off his game a little bit it was a different president.
And so this third debate really is critical and -- be adjusting its foreign policy and that's one where Mitt Romney might have an opening given that they've got -- really started to.
Unravel on the president's on the -- he'd see how.
Alex -- -- I wanna get back to bank Gaza and just a minute but first I want to show folks some examples from some debates that you -- really changed the tide of things.
The -- Carter debate 1980.
Talking about health insurance let's listen.
These are the kind of elements of a national health insurance -- part of the American people governor Reagan again.
Typically is against such a proposal governor.
There you go again.
On somebody -- remember that one why was that so influential.
Well that was one of those great -- what's really important about that -- -- most people don't remember it was seven days before the election which is incredible it was their only debates it was even more important but it was one week out -- at that point.
Carter was still ahead in the polls people don't remember he was winning.
That debate it was not just that line there's a few other -- that Reagan really used and by that point it became a landslide so that was the bloc pivotal moment during the campaign with that one debate.
While also some interest in foreign policy issues going on including -- hostage crisis and then.
And president the president that at the time authorize that mission to go and Iran to try to save our service members.
Eight men ended up dying as a result so how do you think Ben Ghazi.
Could play into this whole thing could we have an impact today as a result of them that -- just like we did back in the 1980 election.
Well absolutely I mean you you pointed out correctly that the Iranian hostage situation really change the outcome of that election.
Thank god has the chance to do that I think Mitt Romney realizes he kind of -- that issue in the second debate -- -- opening -- quite take advantage of it.
But even since the debate more information has come out about what the CIA to.
And so I think that could be the pivotal issue they talk about an October surprise but the last debate foreign policy that's the issue.
It would be a little late for surprise now OK let's look at one more clip in that was.
A lot of us remember that's when gore walked up to present to to bush look at -- That's what the question in this campaign is about it's only what's your philosophy and what's your position on issues.
But can you get things done.
And I believe I can't.
-- just looks so billionaire didn't see why did that -- influence voters so much I -- -- just economies feel after coming I don't I think it was it was one of those unscripted moments where wasn't what he said but what he did.
And if you remember during that whole campaign gore was struggling to find himself with who's wearing earth tones of trying to be a bit more alpha and I think that was his way of owning the room but.
President with a look a President Bush's face is just.
Better than any words have been spoken and at that moment it kind of crystallized for voters that.
Al Gore wasn't really comfortable in his own skin and you saw right there and remember that election was really -- jumped up when that gave bush just enough of advantage to pull ahead.
And bush actually knew that Al Gore had done that during the debates to -- his democratic opponent so he was anticipating that one and that shows the power of anticipation.
-- we're down thank you so much and his presidential historian always good information.
Good chatting Heather thank --