"There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration." - President Gerald Ford
Transcripts: After a 16-year hiatus, President Gerald Ford agreed to debate Democratic challenger former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter in a televised series of debates. Ford was sagging in the polls having continued to face voter anger over his pardoning of former President Richard Nixon for his role in the Watergate affair. Carter, a little-known southern governor, hoped the debates would thrust him into the lead. In the end, it was the president's handling of a question about Poland that would emerge as the seminal moment from the debates -- debates that set the expectation that candidates should always meet and tackle the issues of the day before a nationally televised audience.
This version of the report aired as part of the original Debating Our Destiny documentary in 2000.