HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The first presidential debate is finally here. Break out the popcorn and fasten your seats, we may be in for a bumpy night!
There's no debate about it, the talk-off between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will make history, but, for what reasons? The candidates' take on the issues? Or some take-away one-liners that will surely be remembered?
Who can forget the round of applause Lloyd Bentsen got after Dan Quale compared himself to the late John F. Kennedy in 1988? “Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. And senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.”
Since televised debates began with Richard Nixon's profuse sweating while facing JFK, there have been blunders. Like, Ross Perot's running mate Admiral James Stockdale asking, “Who am I? Why am I here?” Or George W. Bush stating, “I hear there`s rumors on the Internets.”
Signature lines live on long after the debate. Ronald Reagan said to Jimmy Carter, “There you go again.”
Texans cringe every time Rick Perry’s nationally televised “oops” moment is shown when he could not name three departments. “Commerce, education, and what's the third one there, let`s see.”
Body language plays a part, too. Like Sarah Palin’s multiple winks or Dubya’s pause then nod in he direction of Al Gore.
Don't forget the pot shots. Walter Mondale told Gary Hart, “When I hear your new ideas I'm reminded of that ad....where's the beef?”
According to University of Houston’s Assistant Political Science Professor Elizabeth N. Simas, some people are watching for the issues, “National Security is probably going to be the biggest issue that's going to keep coming up. I also think immigration is going to be an important issue."
Others are looking for take-away zingers. Like Reagan telling Mondale he would not make age an issue during the campaign. “I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent`s youth and inexperience.”
Simas says, "Those zingers and one-liners end up being very important because sometimes that's all anybody's going to get out of a campaign."
Monday night’s first debate may include some unwanted distractions like Mark Cuban heckling Trump, and Gennifer Flowers as a distraction to Clinton seeing as she was an admitted distraction to Bill Clinton years ago.
When it comes to political debates, history has taught us one thing for sure, we should expect the unexpected!