This is IN THE NEWS in
VOA Special English.
Americans are a month
from elections on November fourth. This week the vice presidential candidates
of the two major parties met for their only debate.
JOE BIDEN: "For
John McCain, there is no end in sight to end this war. Fundamental difference:
we will end this war."
SARAH PALIN: "Your
plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq, and that is not what our troops need
to hear today, that's for sure."
Governor Sarah Palin and
Senator Joe Biden dealt with war, the economy and other issues. Their debate
Thursday night produced unusual attention but no major mistakes. That seemed
especially important for the Alaska governor after recent difficulties with
television news interviews.
candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, met last Friday
for their first of three debates. One of the strongest exchanges took place
over what to do about Iran. Senator McCain attacked his opponent's position
about meeting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
JOHN McCAIN: "What
Senator Obama does not seem to understand is that if, without precondition, you
sit down across the table from someone who has called Israel a stinking corpse
and wants to destroy that country and wipe it off the map, you legitimize those
comments. This is dangerous. It is not just naive, it is dangerous."
Senator Obama answered
by saying he would meet with any foreign leader if he believed it would make
the United States more secure.
BARACK OBAMA: "Now,
understand what this means, meeting without preconditions. It does not mean
that you invite them over for tea one day. What it means is that we do not do
what we have been doing, which is to say, until you agree to do exactly what we
say, we will not have direct contacts with you."
Professor Wayne Fields
is an expert on presidential speech at Washington University in Saint Louis,
Missouri. He points out that in a debate, the candidate who makes better
arguments is not necessarily the winner in the eyes of the public. He says
voters often base judgments on what they hear in the debate combined with what
they read later in commentaries.
The first official
presidential debate was in nineteen sixty between Vice President Richard Nixon
and Senator John Kennedy. Many watching TV saw Kennedy as the winner. Nixon was
better received among radio listeners, but went on to lose the election.
debates began in nineteen seventy-six but did not become regular events until
nineteen eighty-four. That year, Vice President George H. W. Bush debated New
York Representative Geraldine Ferraro. She is the only woman other than Sarah
Palin ever to be on a major-party presidential ballot.
In nineteen eighty-eight,
the vice presidential debate was between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle. People
remember when Senator Quayle was asked if he had a plan in case he had to
replace George H. W. Bush as president.
DAN QUAYLE: "I have
as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the
presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush
administration if that unfortunate event would ever occur."
"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy
was a friend of mine. Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy."
But Dan Quayle was the
one who became vice president.
The last two debates
between Barack Obama and John McCain are this Tuesday and on October fifteenth.
And that's IN THE NEWS
in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I'm