AllPolitics - Debates '96
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Clashing Ideas

Clinton and Gore

The Al Gore-Jack Kemp debate proved a respectful clash of ideas, with the candidates arguing over tax policy, the economy's health and help for America's inner cities. Vice President Gore proved the aggressor, trying to point out differences between Kemp and GOP nominee Bob Dole.

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Al Gore | Jack Kemp | Pat Choate

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N O T E B O O K A N A L Y S I S

Pander Of The Night

Jack Kemp's claiming of two -- no, make that three -- home states: California, New York and Maryland. Bob Dole needs those electoral votes.

Best Comeback

"He'll call that trickle-down. I call it Niagara Falls." -- Kemp on supply-side economics

"Senator Dole and Mr. Kemp would put the American economy in a barrel and send it over Niagara Falls." -- Al Gore's retort

Metaphor Of The Night

Kemp's long-winded, but effective, comparison of the economy to a game of musical chairs; the bigger the economy, the more chairs

Eddie Haskell Award

Al Gore's persistent -- and cloying -- reference to the moderator as "Mr. Lehrer"

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All Eyes On Year 2000

It was a classic match-up in wednesday's vice presidential debate: Al Gore and Jack Kemp, two political heavyweights, friends with divergent messages, different personal styles and starkly opposing campaign strategies.

As with past veep face-offs, the event was not expected to shake up the presidential contest, and it didn't. But the match probably helped the Clinton campaign more than the Dole effort, and it certainly gave both men a leg up for Campaign 2000.

With Kemp and Gore eyeing the race for the White House in four years, and with their considerable oratorical and debating skills, many looked to this debate for a more dramatic clash of political visions than they got in Sunday's face-off between President Bill Clinton and Republican nominee Bob Dole.

That is, in fact, what viewers got. If there were fewer memorable one-liners and humorous quips, the Gore-Kemp 90-minute exchange was livelier and more philosophical than the first presidential debate.

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