Monday, Jun. 13, 2011

Michael Dukakis, 1988

Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis didn't exactly charm his way into voters' hearts during the 1988 debates with his response to whether he would support the death penalty should his wife Kitty be raped and murdered. A longtime opponent of the death penalty, Dukakis responded to the startling question from CNN's Bernard Shaw, "No, I don't, Bernard, and I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life. I don't see any evidence that it's a deterrent, and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime." While some criticized the fairness of the question, to viewers, the answer seemed both dispassionate and dismissive. Years later, Dukakis would recall his response, saying, "I have to tell you, and maybe I'm just still missing it ... I didn't think it was that bad."