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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"Is this the time to unleash our one-liners? That answer was about as clear as Boston Harbor." - President George H.W. Bush
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Transcript: Vice President George H.W. Bush campaigned hard to emerge from under the shadow of President Reagan, pledging in a strongly worded convention speech to "read my lips, no new taxes". At the time the promise resonated with the American public, but it was a policy he would later regret when a slowing economy forced him to endorse a tax hike. Bush faced Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis, an unabashed liberal Democrat, whose awkward handling of a capital punishment question in their first debate remains one of the most memorable moments of the campaign.

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

Candidate Interviews

Vice President Quayle and Sen. Bentsen

Michael Dukakis (D),
Governor (MA)


George Bush Sr. (R),


Lloyd Bentsen (D),
United States Senator (TX)


Dan Quayle (R),
Vice President


Debate Transcripts

First Presidential Debate - Sepetember 25,1988
Main Topic - Questions divided between foreign and domestic policy

Second Presidential Debate - October 13,1988
Main Topic - Defense and foreign policy issues

Vice Presidential Debate - October 5,1988

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