1980 United States presidential debates
The 1980 United States presidential debates were a series of debates held for the presidential election. The League of Women Voters organized two presidential debates: the first on September 21, 1980, and the second on October 28, 1980. The second presidential debate is the second most-watched debate in American history.
The Republican nominee Ronald Reagan participated in both debates. Independent candidate John B. Anderson only participated in the first debate, while the Democratic nominee and incumbent President Jimmy Carter participated in the second debate.
The first presidential debate started at 10:00 p.m. EDT and the second presidential debate started at 9:30 p.m. EDT. Both of them ended at 11:00 p.m. EDT.
|1980 United States presidential debates|
|P Participant N Non-invitee A Absent invitee||Democratic||Republican||Independent|
|Jimmy Carter||Ronald Reagan||John B. Anderson|
|1||September 21, 1980||
Daniel S. Greenberg
James Bryant Quinn
|2||October 28, 1980||P||P||N|
|= Sponsored by the League of Women Voters|
First presidential debate (Baltimore Convention Center)
|Date||September 21, 1980|
|Venue||Baltimore Convention Center|
|Participants||John B. Anderson|
|Moderator||Bill Moyers of PBS|
|Panelists||Carl Loomis of Fortune|
Daniel S. Greenberg
Charles Corddry of The Baltimore Sun
Lee May of the Los Angeles Times
James Bryant Quinn
Following a strong performance by Reagan, Anderson's poll numbers began to drop; he would not be invited to the second debate.
Anderson and Reagan both received six questions. They were given two and a half minutes to answer each question, as well as one minute and 15 seconds to rebut. Closing statements could be as long as three minutes.
Second presidential debate (Public Auditorium)
|Date||October 28, 1980|
|Moderator||Howard K. Smith of ABC News|
|Panelists||Marvin Stone of U.S. News & World Report|
Harry Ellis of The Christian Science Monitor
William A. Hilliard of The Oregonian
Barbara Walters of ABC News
Carter and Reagan were the only invitees.
CNN attempted to include Anderson from the Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. CNN's Daniel Schorr read the same questions to Anderson. They then aired Anderson's live responses along with tape delay of Carter and Reagan's responses, despite technical difficulties.
The second presidential debate consisted of two halves, and panelists were only allowed to offer follow-ups in the first half. Candidates Carter and Reagan both received the same 12 questions and the ability to rebut twice for one minute each.
Nielsen Media Research states that the second presidential debate garnered 80.6 million viewers. It was the most-watched debate in American history until the first presidential debate of 2016.
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- Kennedy, Merrit (September 27, 2016). "Clinton-Trump Showdown Was The Most-Watched Presidential Debate Ever". NPR. Archived from the original on January 20, 2019. Retrieved January 20, 2019.