There was the same sense of tension, the same feeling of rising excitement, the same hope of glory to be won, as though the two teams were poised for a kickoff.

In the hamlet of Plains, Ga., where the jungle heat of August still hung on, Jimmy Carter was tanned and rested from his long midsummer idyl and eager to go. When the word came that the debates were on—that he would be able to meet Gerald Ford face to face while tens of millions watched on television—Carter was delighted, confident that he would do well in the duels that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!