Thursday, Oct. 02, 2008

Gore's Compromise

Al Gore began his 1996 debate against Republican Jack Kemp by offering a compromise: "If you won't use any football stories, I won't tell any of my warm and humorous stories about chlorofluorocarbon abatement." What followed was 90 tepid minutes of conciliatory remarks. Bob Dole later joked that it "looked like a fraternity picnic there for a while." Evidently, the friendly tone did not sit well with viewers. To some, Kemp seemed like a "garrulous, unprepared wimp," while Gore appeared "relentlessly, robotically, Muzak-ly on message." The debate received some of the lowest ratings and least enthusiastic reviews of any election debate in history, although Gore's line foreshadowed his eventual reincarnation as one of the leading environmental reformers of the 21st century.