TELEVISED POLITICAL DEBATES, a blood sport that usually shed more heat than light, can yield incredible moments that can haunt or elevate an election candidate.
Tonight, Donald Trump and Joe Biden will go head-to-head in the first televised debate of the US presidential election.
Our reporter Sean Murray will be bringing you all the highs and lows as he liveblogs the spectacle through the night from 2am, but until then, this quiz should give you your fix of gaffes, one-liners, and jaw-dropping moments from debates in the US, UK and Ireland.
Off with yis.
The first televised US presidential election debate was between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960. What did Nixon do that is thought to have hurt his election chances?
He stuttered a lot during the debate
He kept looking at his shoes
The first televised leaders’ debate in Ireland happened between Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald and Charles Haughey in 1982. What did Haughey attack Fitzgerald’s government over during the debate?
Introducing VAT on children’s shoes in the Budget
Not giving out free toothbrushes to children in the Budget
Not halving the national deficit
Not taking a photo with him before the debate
What blunder did President Gerald Ford utter in a debate with Jimmy Carter in 1976, at the height of the Cold War?
“We have yet to send a man to the moon.”
“The US was not heavily involved in the Vietnam War, and will never be under a Ford administration.”
“There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never be will under a Ford administration.”
“I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
This candidate was leading in the polls running up to the 2011 presidential election, but their chances were scuppered after a controversy dubbed ‘Tweetgate’ on RTÉ’s Frontline. Who was this candidate?
In 1984, the 76-year-old Ronald Reagan was asked whether his age could be an issue in the election campaign. Finish Reagan’s response, which prompted laughs from the audience and his opponent: “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes…
“…my very successful acting career.”
“…people’s sympathy for a handsome, but aging man.”
“…my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
In Ireland’s general election in February this year, what did Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald refer to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar as during the RTE’s Claire Byrne Live seven-way debate?
Tweedle dee and tweedle dum
In the 2000 US presidential election, while describing the differences between himself and Al Gore, George W Bush gets up from his chair while speaking to the audience. Gore also stands up, and strolls over next to him. What happens next?
Gore nudges him with his shoulder, and Bush asks him to sit back down
Bush glances at Gore, nods at him with a smile, and looks back at the audience
Bush retreats back into his chair, and then Gore smiles and answers the question
Bush runs away and Gore runs after him
During the first televised debate of the UK general election last year, Boris Johnson
and Jeremy Corbyn were asked a very simple question by an audience member: “How can we trust you?” What was the response?
Johnson responded “Look what I’ve delivered”, and the audience laughed
Corbyn said “Look what I’ve promised”, and the audience laughed
Johnson said “you can’t trust anyone in politics really, especially Labour”
Corbyn said “you can trust us more than the Tories”, and the audience booed
In the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump
and Hillary Clinton were asked to name one thing that they respect about one another. Trump walked away from the man who asked the question, and didn’t answer the question immediately. When he did, what did he say?
“She’s a nasty woman, I don’t know what else to say.”
“She doesn’t quit, she doesn’t give up, I respect that.”
“I admire her work as a parent and a mother.”
Nothing – he didn’t answer the question.
And finally, what is one of the lines that shot Saoirse McHugh’s name to the national political stage during a European election debate on RTÉ’s Prime Time in May last year?
“I’m going to leave the Green Party if they go into coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil.”
“Millionaires scapegoating migrants is an old trope and it’s boring.”
“We have to get involved in politics, not least because we’re so far away from revolution.”
“Miphael D’Arcy photo revolving door.”
Answer all the questions to see your result!
You scored out of !
The devil’s in the detail, and by god you really know the details.
You scored out of !
Your average Joe
A respectable score – but we want a little more.
You scored out of !
You could do better – but also probably have better things to be doing.
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