AllPolitics - Debates '96

Debate Notebook

Here's a set of post-debate observations, funny, serious and frivolous. If you have some to add, tell us at

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." -- 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"

The "It's-going-to-be-a-long-night" Award

"I can't clear my throat in 90 seconds," Kemp said, referring at the outset to the time limit on answers.

Goal 2000

Energy and substance for the presidential race in the year 2000. The veep candidates demonstrated the difference between the two tickets better than the big guys on Sunday in Hartford.

Science For Football Players

"I can't even pronounce it," Kemp joked, responding to Gore's offer not to talk about chlorofluorocarbon abatement if Kemp would drop his football stories.

Best Funeral Tie

Al Gore's maroon silk with nearly invisible horizontal stripes, over Jack Kemp's cheerful bright blue-and-white windowpane check.

What Is This, A Debate?

A discussion of empowerment zones for inner cities droned on for some five minutes.

Wooden Soldier Award

Gore wins it, and is probably happy to. At least there was no macarena...or did we miss it?

What About Religion And Sex?

"I've really got only two differences with Bill Clinton, President Clinton, and Vice President Gore: foreign policy and domestic policy," said Kemp

Gore For Baseball Commissioner

Sports fans, take note: Gore did the right thing...he called for an immediate suspension of Baltimore Orioles' Roberto Alomar for spitting on an umpire.

What A Workout!

Kemp, a former Buffalo Bills quarterback, brought such energy to his arguments he showed a glimmer of facial perspiration.

Pedant Of The Night

"The word 'economics' in Greek came from the word family, or law or custom of the family." -- Kemp

Non Sequitur Of The Night

Gore's injection of the gold standard in response to a question on Mexico's economy.

Schoolmarm Of The Night

Gore, because of his painfully deliberate enunciation and cloying tone.

Block-That-Knot Metaphor

"Clearly the Gordian Knot needs to be broken in one fell swoop," Kemp said, referring to the federal tax code.

Who Are You Calling Demagogue?

Lehrer: "Mr. Vice President, Mr. Kemp has accused you of demagoguery,"in reference to the Republican ticket's position on welfare entitlement programs such as Medicare.

But it was Kemp who decried environmental regulations' "reign of terror." Let them eat spotted owls, or something.

Outrages Of The Night

  • Kemp's accusation that the Clinton Administration has committed -- gasp -- socialism in the inner city.
  • Gore's attempt to ascribe to Bob Dole an out-of-context quote that the economy is the best Dole has seen in 30 years

  • Restraint Of The Night

    Gore's choice not to invoke the injury of his son when praising the Family and Medical Leave Act. Gore spent hours at the beside of son Albert after he was injured by a car upon leaving a Baltimore Orioles' game several years ago.

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