starsJim Lehrer hosts Debating Our Destiny
A look at the pivotal moments from the last 48 years of presidential debates through the eyes of those who were there.
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"We can meet our destiny - and that destiny to build a land here that will be, for all mankind, a shining city on a hill. I think we ought to get at it." - President Ronald Reagan
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Transcript: President Jimmy Carter faced a difficult reelection effort, with Iranian Islamists holding most of the American embassy staff hostage, a saggin economy and even the president hinting the country was in a malaise. In addition to these challenges, he faced the charismatic former governor of California and actor Ronald Reagan and an independent challenge for moderate Congressman John Anderson. The campaign featured two debates -- one with Reagan and Anderson debating without the president and the other a Reagan-Carter matchup.

This version of the report aired as part of the original Debating Our Destiny documentary in 2000.

Candidate Interviews

President Carter and President Reagan shaking hands

Jimmy Carter (D),


Ronald Reagan (R),


John Anderson (I),
Former United States Congressman (IL)


Walter Mondale (D),
Vice President


George Bush Sr. (R),


Debate Transcripts

First Presidential Debate - Sepetember 21,1980

Second Presidential Debate - October 28,1980
Main Topic - Domestic, economic, foreign policy, and national security issues.

Transcripts: Commision on Presidential Debates

Produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions in association with the Commission on Presidential Debates and WETA

Debating Our Destiny is brought to you, in part, by: Chevron

Copyright 2008 MacNeil/Lehrer Productions
MacNeil/Lehrer Productions