As the first presidential debate nears, look back at 12 cringe-worthy moments in debate history.
As Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama prep for tomorrow night's first presidential debate, look back at 12 cringe-worthy moments in debate history that most candidates would probably love everyone to forget, according to Yahoo! News.
Rick Perry's 'Oops' -- The Texas governor plummeted in the polls when he famously failed to name the three government agencies he'd do away with if elected president during a Republican primary debate in November 2011.
Nixon's Sweat -- Vice President Richard Nixon appeared to be dripping with sweat during the first-ever televised presidential debate against Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1960. Nixon had just spent 12 days in the hospital for a knee operation and staph infection.
Ford's Communism Conundrum -- Gerald Ford stumbled in a 1976 debate with Jimmy Carter when he said there was no Soviet Union domination of Eastern Europe at the time and "there never will be under a Ford administration." When asked to clarify, Ford dug an ever deeper hole, saying each of those countries was independent and autonomous.
Stockdale's 'Why Am I Here?' -- Adm. James Stockdale, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, introduced himself to the country during the 1992 vice presidential debate by joking "Who am I? Why am I here?" The audience laughed. But the strange use of a rhetorical question became known as the "Stockdale Moment."
Bush's Impatience -- When asked during the second presidential debate in 1992 how the recession had personally affected him, President George H.W. Bush tucked his suit, checked his watch and gave a lengthy answer that failed to answer the question directly. The move was widely panned as a sign of boredom and impatience with a question that weighed heavily on Americans' minds.
Gore's Sighing -- During the presidential debates in 2000, Vice President Al Gore was widely criticized for sighing loudly and repeatedly in frustration as then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush would make points. The sighs made Gore appear condescending, and were lampooned on "Saturday Night Live."
Brewer's Brain Freeze -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer suffered what Newsweek called a "brain freeze" during a debate with Democratic opponent state Attorney General Terry Goddard in September 2010. She "offered only vague, nonsensical statements as she giggled and tried to recall her train of thought," the magazine said.
Dukakis' Death Penalty Debacle -- Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis' famous answer to a death-penalty question in the 1988 presidential debate might have cost him the race. When asked whether he would favor an irrevocable death penalty if his wife were raped and murdered, Dukakis said "No, I don't, and I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life." His response was seen as cold and detached and his poll numbers plunged.
'You're Likeable Enough, Hillary' -- Tension was already high between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008 when Clinton fumbled speaking about her likeability. Obama looked up from his paper and interjected, "You're likable enough, Hillary," then promptly continued to write away. "I appreciate that," a laughing Clinton responded.
'You're No Jack Kennedy' -- At the 1988 vice presidential debate, Democrat Lloyd Bentsen pounced on freshman Sen. Dan Quayle comparing himself to John F. Kennedy. Bentson responded, "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." After prolonged applause, Quayle responded, "That was really uncalled for, Senator."
'You Have A Gay Daughter' -- Vice President Dick Cheney avoided mentioning his lesbian daughter during most of the 2004 campaign, but it was put front and center during a vice presidential debate that year, when Democrat John Edwards spoke of her when asked about gay marriage. Cheney was said to be furious at Edwards and presidential candidate John Kerry for raising the issue.
Patricia Madrid's Awkward Pause -- When running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, former New Mexico Lt. Gov. Patricia Madrid was asked whether she could point to something in her public service career that would reassure voters that she would prevent a tax increase. After a long, awkward pause, Madrid said, "Your president, you," before going into another pause.
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