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tv   Lectures in History Presidential Debates  CSPAN  October 24, 2020 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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later, a discussion on the history of electing the speaker of the u.s. house in a new congress. eastern, 51. countries joined forces on october 24, 1945, to create the united nations, in the hopes of preventing future wars. we feature four films on the 70th anniversary. prof. buhler: we will start today by talking about candidate debates. that is my favorite thing about a candidate. excited to talk about this today. i want to give you a little bit of history. general election debates became a highlight. we expect tong
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happen. when was the first debate? this is a false hint. those debates were when they were running for the senate. they had numerous debates. kind of an odd situation.
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the real first presidential debate was between kennedy and nixon in 1960. richard nixon had been vice president for eight years. much better known than kennedy. nixon had taken advantage of television. he was known as a fierce debater. they decided to sponsor a series of debates.
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confident and willing. he was the front runner. the consensus was, these debates cost nixon the election. which was very close. it elevated kennedy immediately. now they are on an even level. the senator and the vice president. also his appearance was much better. much more handsome. more telegenic. there have been some studies on this. the people who listens to the , and they were very boring back then. they had very long answers. they are more interesting now. those who listen to the first debate on radio thought nixon
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won. those who watched on tv thought kennedy won. after that, there were no more debates for a while. something called the fairness doctrine. licensed by station the federal communications commission gives a candidate time on the air, they have to give their opponent equal time. johnson was not anxious to debate. you have all the minor party candidates. it is not practical. able to dodge it successfully. in 1968 when nixon was running again, he was not too anxious to debate.
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he learned his lesson. this kind of stop presidential debates. like 1960 was a one-off, it would never happen 1976, gerald ford was president. he was trailing his opponent but much is 30 points. they found their way around the fairness doctrine. it was not the networks giving the candidates a forum. it was covering a news event. find a lawyers work they
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way around it. we can do these debates with people we want. since 1976, we have had presidential and vice presidential debates every election. there used to be questions by a panel. more recently they have gone to a single moderator.
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there has been times when there was quite a lot of interaction. --the time of the debates, what is the polling now how many are undecided? there may be more people who say one way or the other. but they are a little squishy. 11%, really. i'm surprised. you have some voters up for grabs.
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magnifyon needs to performance and personality. web server gave this advice. he said he likes the emotional content of the debate. how a candidate comes across will make much more of an impression than the words they said, typically. there are always exceptions. magnifies mistakes for tribes -- triumphs. when a mistake is made, what is happening on the news? it is replayed constantly. the comments were talking about, who did well? who had a good night or a bad
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night? that can change public opinion. afterg research shows mistakes have been replayed, the public perception of the debates can actually change. here are some examples. an hour after negative reviews, the lead switched to mondale at one point. a couple of days later, polls showed that voters thought mondale had won the debate. it went from reagan winning to even to mondale wedding. -- winning. the challenge for reagan in that , he was the oldest candidate. we are now breaking those
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records. reagan seemed a little confused and muddled. issue. became an was in famous gaffe 1976. between ford and carter. this was long before the fall of the iron curtain, if you remember that phrase from the cold war. the soviet union had puppet states in eastern europe. they controlled eastern europe. ford misspoke. he meant to say the people of eastern europe do not feel like they are dominated. they do not accept soviet domination. but clearly they were dominated. declaredke when he eastern europe was not under soviet domination.
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at that point, ford had pulled up to even or even slightly ahead in the race. he stubbornly refused to correct this mistake or several days. , pollsfter the debate showed that he won the debate. after news reports carried on for several days, 62% said carter won the debate. this mistake was magnified. he could have gone right out that evening and said, what i meant was this. could have eliminated a lot of that damage to himself. we will show a couple of clips. this first one is a little recap on presidential debates that cnn did before 2012.
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>> debates can make history. the first televised debate signified a new era. appearance mattered more than ever and gaffes are magnified. john kennedy facing off against richard nixon. on screen, kennedy looks cool and calm. nixon looks uncomfortable, sweating profusely in the hot studio lights. kennedy went on to win the election. 1976, gerald ford makes this blunder. there is no soviet domination of eastern europe and their never will be underreported ministration -- administration. >> it became a central theme in
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carter's campaign. 1980, reagan attacked carter. careeregan his political campaigning against medicare. >> reagan stayed cool. >> there you go again. >> four years later he also used humor to handle attacks. >> i will not make age an issue in this campaign. >> in the next election, michael dukakis was asked this question. rapedkitty dukakis were and murdered, would you favor and a revocable definitely -- an
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irrevocable death penalty. >> the public sees his answer as cold and dispassionate. debate, dan988 quayle elicited this blistering response. >> you are no john kennedy. >> body language plays a part. george h w bush deliberately looks at his watch. people see it is disrespectful. differencege makes a between george bush and al gore. both president and obama and governor romney are seasons debaters. if there is one thing that history taught us, expect the unexpected.
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we have one more. there ago. -- there we go. i thought we would show a little bit from 2016 just to remind us how we got here. this is a little clip from one of their debates. we will live ago five minutes. a speech you gave to a learnedn bank, we have that you said this. a hemisphere with open trade and open borders. is that your dream? >> if you went on to read the rest of the sentence, i was
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talking about energy. we trade more energy with our neighbors. i do want us to have an electric grid, and energy system that would be a great benefit to us. what is really important about wikileaks is the russian government has engaged in espionage against americans. american hacked websites. then they have given that information to wikileaks for the purpose of putting it on the internet. this is tom from the highest level of the russian government. he asked people to influence our election. the most important question this
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finally, will donald trump admit and condemn that the russians are doing this. willake it clear that he not have the help of putin in on? selection -- this electi those are the questions we need answered. we have never had anything like this happen. >> that was a great pivot off of the fact that she wants open borders. hold on. this will end up getting out of control. she wants open borders. people will pour into our country. from syria. she once 550% more people to barack obama. he had thousands of thousands of people.
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stop radicalto islamic terrorism in this country. she won't even mention the words and neither will obama. she wants open borders. i don't know putin. he says nice things about me. if we got along well, that would be good. if russia and the u.s. got along well and went after isis, that would be good. he has no respect for her, for our president. we are in very serious trouble. we have a country with tremendous numbers of new your warheads. 1800. chicken.aying from everything i see, putin has no respect for this person. >> that is because he would rather have a puppet as president. >> no puppet. you're the puppet. the russians have engaged in
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cyber attacks against american. you encouraged espionage against our people. you are willing to spout the putin line, sign up for his wish list, break up nato, do whatever he wants to do. you continue to get help from because he hasm a clear favorite in this race. this is such an unprecedented situation. we never had a foreign government trying to interfere in our election. 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, have all concluded that these espionage attacks, the cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. i find that deeply disturbing. . >> she has no idea. whether it is russia or china.
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you have no idea. >> he would rather believe vladimir putin than the military and civilians intelligence professionals who are sworn to protect us. herho do has outsmarted every step of the way. putin has outsmarted her in syria. >> i would like to ask you this direct question. officialsal security believe russia has been behind the attacks. even if you do not know for sure , do you condemn any interference i russia? -- by russia. -- forush hour denny anyone else. i don't know putin. prof. buhler: i think we have a
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good flavor of it. they were very spirited. i don't think there was any breakout momentarily changed the race. interesting to watch this for years later -- four years later. anyone want to make a comment? promised isaac that we would show clips. and the rest of you. see if i can make this move again. let me get that out of the way. debates, one of the this.ions is you see how crowded it is.
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surrogatesill have -- campaign will have surrogates lined up to talk to the media. and put their spin on what just happened. is there any way to move that box? this has become sort of a joke. it is somewhat inevitable. the campaign will try to put the best face on it. >> that reminds me of something.
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prof. buhler: i saw something similar in one of the other debates. they deflect attacks.
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one observer said they were like soldiers armed with hand grenades. there was a goal of staying on message. that was from a book i read a while ago. talking about presidential debates. it depends on where the candidates are positioned. if you are holding a strong lead or you are an incumbent, it is different if you are an underdog or a challenger.
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your main objective is to avoid mistakes. everything is going well. you just don't want to mess it up. avoid mistakes. underdog, you will take more risks. lose you areave to already messing. you can switch things up and get your opponent to make a mistake. that is what you want to do. i saw this up close and personal . i have so many different stories. i was running for mayor of salt lake city. i knew my opponent was quite a bit ahead of me.
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i had a couple of months until the election. welld always gotten along with each other. we served in the legislature together. i went into this debate one thing to make attacks. that continued in every debate. he was like, what happened? i thought you were a nice guy. said, i have to do something. you are way ahead. i can't just lay down and die. i have to take the fight to you. shocked that his friend was being so aggressive. the strategyng in
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of whether to debate or not was, how many debates? which debates? the leading candidate may want to minimize the number of debates. the challenger may want to expand. 1982, i was working on a campaign. senator hatch was being challenged. he was the mayor of selleck city. -- salt lake city. or the former mayor. i am confusing it. hatch was the incumbent. , we wentign manager through all the different requests for debates. we picked out 10 that we wanted to do.
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we announced that is what we were doing. it was kind of rude and away. we said, he will show up. this is what we are doing. it made him a little mad. we had the upper hand. , i was working for the governor. ted wilson was our challenger and he was leading in the polls. we had an upset strategy. we wanted to get them together to debate as much as possible. in a different audience, we didn't care who it was. the wilson campaign was a little more light, we want to be a key. we want to limit the risks of making a mistake. how do you refuse to go?
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that worked out ok. debate prep. campaigns will want to prepare their candidates with answers to the most likely russians. -- questions. you want to spend some time. you want to rehearse. what are the most likely questions you're going to get? maybe those that will be negative. you want to make sure they can response the attacks. the usual tactic is to fit it on negative questions. she was able to fit it to a legitimate subject.
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it started out as a question against -- about open borders. she did that well. she got the subject changed. , and research is used quite a bit. really gone into opposition research at. to know what it attack is coming. on issues, you want to make sure your candidate is well-informed. if the debate is televised, this is very important.
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this is a huge opportunity. you want to make sure you maximize it. debates can matter. we have seen that through history. you need to be prepared for them and take them very seriously. i questions on debate strategy or what we have talked about here today? i will pivot slightly. move on to some other things. how much of a role do you think debates actually have any ofl numbers since -- sense getting people out to vote in changing their minds? prof. buhler: that is a good question. it really depends.
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even in 2016i haven't seen anything that says those debates moved anyone. anything that quantifies that. there are two big things. one is a mistake can be very damaging. we have seen that through history. they can make a difference. it can help a candidate like kennedy or jimmy carter helped
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solidify them. does that help? >> yes. prof. buhler: it kind of depends. it can have an impact. a lot of the times it does not have that much impact. questions?omments or do you find debates are more influential in local or national races? prof. buhler: i think generally more in national. begets much more coverage. race, it is pretty rare.
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in utah it is pretty rare that you ever hear anything about it once it is over. so for the people watching it may have an impact. it's not like on the national stage where a mistake gets amplified so much. they can help. putting them on the stage together really helped. people could understand why he did what he did. the contrast was good. he was very capable and he is a very funny person. it helped our side i think.
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any other questions? we are heading into debate season. here are the 2020 debates. starting a week from tomorrow. the vp debate will be right here. very close by. then two more presidential debates. potentialey have the to be very important. want to give their opinion on that? >> i had a question. with mail-in ballots going out , there is a big push for
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people to turn them in immediately. do you think specifically that third debate will even have much of an influence on undecided voters? because people will have turned in mail-in ballots? let's walk down history lane. in some states they are doing early voting right now. virginia, north carolina. clearly the undecided voters, if they still have not decided, he could have an impact. i think you will see with the early voters, most of them have already decided. it could still have an impact on those later deciders.
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watching for some clue on which way they should go. i think the early voters will be people who decided. i think it will still have an impact. it does change the dynamic, for sure. you could have people who voted early and there is some big kind of mistake. they can't take their vote back. they can change their minds. it is too late at that point. any other thoughts or comments? , we have ae level lot of debates coming up.
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they will do a number of these on television. it will be interesting. i'm sure there will be others. maybe forums where one candidate speaks. those are not as fun or exciting. we will have our own debate at our own class. just to get us in the mood. a are a candidate for a salt lake city at large c. one is the incumbent. this is really her first time on the ballot. this will be on zoom. there is an extra credit opportunity. some of you have seen this. i posted it today. let me talk about that a little bit.
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given them pretty strict rules on the debate. but i'm inviting your help. if you would like to help suggest questions to be asked. we will have about 22 minutes. bruce -- cover this real quickly. i'm asking you to submit some questions. same for both the candidates. not slanted one way or the other. just a straight up question on an issue. for every question you submit to me, i will give you 10 points. whether or not your question is used. if you are interested in creditg -- earning extra
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, send me your questions in a word document by next sunday night. if i decide to use one of your questions, i know i have some people working on one of these campaigns. can still earnou extra credit. i will not have you asked the question. maybe i will ask it. send me an email. i will go through them. i will decide which ones will be good. if there is one of you i will ask you to follow up. have time to get all of them. i thought this would be a fun way to involve the class.
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i want this to be totally fair to both candidates. days, even in the presidential debates, questions are much more personalized to a particular candidate. those were never debate rules i would agree to. i was felt the question needed to be the same question. not like they will give me a zinger. that is how we will do it. any questions on that? something that will make it fun. we will be on zoom. that way they do not have to wear masks. it will be fun to be here in person.
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minutes we will start on chapter two. on political math. some elections are very close. decided by relatively few votes. a couple of famous examples. he had been trailing in the polls. .ventually he won very close. 19 anyone, when i first ran for salt lake city mayor, it was a five way race. every poll had me in third or fourth place. i had notes in my pocket to give a concession speech.
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squeaking through. sometimes these races are very close. we have a famous example of bush versus gore. bush carried florida by 537 votes. the electoral college he lost the popular. in our last presidential election, trump won with a little bit of a bigger margin in the electoral college. but he lost the popular vote. he won in three states that were key. pennsylvania, wisconsin, michigan.
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that won him the election. those were states that could have gone even -- either way. the total margin of victory was 79,000 votes. incredibly close. examplese been other mentioned in the textbook. sometimes elections are goodly close. -- incredibly close. every campaign manager has been on both sides of this. this convinces them that campaigns can make a difference.
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there are so many elections that are so close. just one minor change here or there could make a difference. some think that elections are determined more by structural fundamentals. then by whatever the campaign does or doesn't do. here are a few examples of that. they found no evidence that persuasive contact gets voters to turn out.
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they said campaign persuasion is extremely rare in elections. it appears advertising can influence voters choices. in a general election, they don't think campaigns make much difference. but it could definitely happen. what do you think? that is true, why are we here? that is what i think about it. class.ld cancel this but obviously we think they can
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manner -- matter. any comments or thoughts? ? does that surprise anyone? i thought it was a little surprising. there is this scholarly skepticism. this leaves ample room for marginal effects. this is really what we are focused on. they are focused on not losing the support they already have.
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these are some questions to consider. are they correct? about those who say persuasion is the most important factor? two campaigns matter? today they matter by mobilizing their sides or by persuading swing voters? any thoughts? >> i have not done a study. like a bad campaign can hurt more than a good campaign can help.
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i feel a part of campaign strategy is just avoiding the really bad things. a bad campaign can really derail a candidate. prof. buhler: that is interesting. i can see that. that is an interesting point. >> i disagree with that. i think a good campaign committee huge difference. some races have been in very red or blue places.
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there have been a lot of examples where campaigns have made a huge difference. i very much disagree with that point. prof. buhler: ok. i think you could both be right. i'm not just trying to be political. a good campaign can make a difference. had a bad campaign can make a difference. other campaigns that really don't make much difference. the fundamentals are so strong there is no way to overcome them. i think it is all over the place.
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these are other factors. we have talked about this. that see if anyone has anything they want to say. i think they have a point but i don't think it can make no difference. i don't think we will take the time to go through each of these. of wherehese examples the scholars have raised concerns. this scholarly doubt is rooted in several assumptions.
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all of these fundamentals can take -- make a difference. scholars argue even if campaigns have the potential to change entrenched mines, there would minds, be -- entrenched their we need to be big differences. campaigns kind of negate each other. a lot of times the spending is fairly even. at least even enough to what makes a difference. they are skeptical that it makes that much of a difference. campaign managers point out that much of the scholarly research is done on presidential candidates. fundamentals are likely to matter most. be morey are saying may
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true for presidential campaigns that most of the campaigns in america. are thousandsre of nonpresidential campaigns and elections whether for congress, legislature, governors. and so forth. maybe the notion has some validity on the presidential level. but on the state and local level, campaigns make all the difference. they are more's acceptable to the effects of campaigns then pry profile races -- high-profile races. not always as even a playing field as you get down the ballot into these smaller races. there are a couple of arguments that talk about that.
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what do you think about this idea? choice?ad to make a >> i agree that they are more important on a local level. prof. buhler: ok. impact. have a bigger ok. thanks. other thoughts on this?
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i guess my main point would be, we are here for a reason. they can make a difference. true isg that is very those who are campaign consultants, maybe professional campaign managers, they may overstate the good they can do for a candidate. they may oversell. we can take anyone to make them president. there are a lot of other factors. the partisan nature of the electorate, where they line up. what is going on in the economy. there are a lot of things going on that matter. many elections are decided on the margins. than 5% ofn by less
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the vote. that is where campaigns can make a difference. thank you, we will see you on wednesday. get ready for all of these debates coming up. it is my favorite time of the decade. you can watch lectures in history every weekend. we take you inside college on topics from the american revolution to 9/11. >> you are watching american history tv. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. this fall, american history tv is airing archival coverage of presidential races. sunday, we feature debates from the 1992 as a digital campaign.
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campaign.ntial campaign.6 here's a preview. what will you do as president to open foreign markets to fair competition from american business and stop unfair competition here at home so we can bring jobs back? the top ofright at my agenda. we have shipped millions of jobs overseas. we have a strange situation. we have a process in washington where after you serve for a while and you cash in and become a foreign lobbyist. if you want to get down to brass these you have to get all
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folks with these one-way trade agreements. we will give you the same deal. we havel gridlock international competitors who said they could not unload their cars off of the ships if we had to comply. if it was a two way street. we have to stop sending jobs overseas. to those of you in the audience , if youbusiness people are paying $14 an hour for factory workers and you can move your factory south of the border and pay a dollar an hour for labor, you have a material workforce. you have no health care. that is the most expensive single element. no environmental controls. no retirement. you don't care about anything but making money. there will be a giant sucking sound going south. if the people send me to
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washington, the first thing i will study is that agreement and make sure it is a two-way street. who who of thes folks who have been around it and said why would everyone go south? they said it will be disruptive. i said how does it stop being disruptive? that is when their jobs come up and our jobs go down. then ♪ the presidents, available in paperback, hardcover and e-book from public affairs. presents biographies of every president. inspired by conversations about the leadership skills that make for a successful presidency. as americans go to the polls next month to decide who should lead our country. this collection offers perspective into the lives that forged each presidents leadership style. to learn more about all of our presidents, visit
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presidents. order your copy today, wherever books are sold. charles stewart, co-author for "fighting for the speakership: the house & the rise of party government." discusses the history of a let to the speaker of the u.s. house in a new congress. mr. stewart examined how the process has changed since 1789, and the influence of partnership -- partisanship on those changes. the national archives center for legislative archives posted this event and provided the video. did notems the rain dampen any determination for you to attend today's researcher talk. thank you for braving the elements. i am the historian of the center for legislative archives. the sponsor of this series. today's program is the third researcher talk this year.


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