The 90’s Election Special: It’s Debate-able

"It's Debate-able" features an inside look at the 1992 presidential debate in St. Louis and the various media tactics the candidates used to their advantage. Segments include video from candidates' debate prep, spin rooms, satellite tours, and commercials.

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00:00Copy video clip URL Opening, The 90s 1992 Campaign Special.

01:35Copy video clip URL Bush Headquarters. Several Bush supporters and campaign workers are interviewed in and around Bush headquarters in Washington D.C. David Carney: “Fifty percent of the people in the country are yet not committed to a candidate…that gives us a good chance…”

04:38Copy video clip URL Debate Prep. Clinton in debate preparation in Kansas City, MO. We watch as Clinton advisers set up a stage for a mock debate, discuss various debate strategies, and follow the press to a Clinton photo-op.

13:43Copy video clip URL Flashback – New Hampshire. Flashback to February of 1992. We follow the press as they follow Clinton in New Hampshire. The Clintons meet a little girl named Destiny, Hillary on the bus, Clinton bag.

15:50Copy video clip URL Bush Arrives. St. Louis, MO. President G.H.W. Bush arrives in St. Louis for the first of three Presidential debates. His supporters wait anxiously for him at the Airport.

18:52Copy video clip URL Setting the Stage. We watch as various news outlets make their last minute preparations for the debate. Several reporters also comment on the spin-doctors for each campaign. We see some of the doctors at work.

24:50Copy video clip URL The First Debate. A series of sound bites from the first debate on October 11, 1992 at Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

27:11Copy video clip URL The Spin Room. A post-debate view of the spin-doctors representing each candidate. Each candidates’ various representatives claim that their candidate won the debate.

30:45Copy video clip URL David Halberstam. Author David Halberstam likens the U.S. deficit that was created during the Reagan/Bush administrations to a Russian missile headed toward the U.S.: “It’s in the air, it’s getting larger, getting faster…if you think of [the deficit] like that you’re scared, and with damn good reason.”

31:51Copy video clip URL Satellite Tours. We watch as Clinton spin-doctors conduct one interview after another via satellite. Each repeats key phrases (“Clinton met all of his strategic goals for the debate”) in every interview. We also follow CBS News producer Susan Zirinski has she pushes her team to get the debate coverage on the air. NBC News reporter Jim Miklaszewski defends the increasingly common practice of distilling a candidate’s message into 7-second sound bites.

38:26Copy video clip URL Vote Commercials. Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas, Janet Leigh, and Sidney Poitier appear in a vintage commercial that urges people to vote.

39:30Copy video clip URL Why People Don’t Vote. A segment examining the reasons people don’t vote. Voter apathy experts, and non-voters are interviewed. An expert claims the most common reason given by non-voters for not voting is because they are not registered.

44:48Copy video clip URL The War Room. A visit to Clinton Campaign headquarters in Little Rock, AR., known as “The War Room.” The young age of the campaign workers and the embrace of technology is focused on.

48:30Copy video clip URL Flashback – Getting In. This segment features video correspondent Eddie Becker on the phone with Bush/Quayle campaign coordinator. Becker is attempting to gain access to Bush/Quayle HQ, but the campaign is resisting. Eventually they inform Becker that cameras will be allowed to take pictures, but no audio is to be recorded.

50:16Copy video clip URL My Home Town. Video correspondent, Andrew Jones takes on a tour of Richmond, VA, his home town. He brings us to the housing project where he lived as a child, and to the wealthiest white community where he gives a message to the candidates.

54:38Copy video clip URL Credits roll as Joe Cummings reads some viewer response letters.



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