|Source: MOX News-|
The 1992 townhall presidential debate was a history making presidential debate for a few reasons. The first one that was in a townhall format, where the contenders were on stage, but not stuck behind a podium. They could walk around and actually get close to the audience. And that was another thing the moderator was more of a referee than an interviewer, there to make sure that the contenders didn't go over time and try to keep them from dodging questions and even asking followups. As well as the audience being the interviewers. The debate was sort of like an afternoon talk show like Geraldo, Oprah, or, Donahue, or something.
And you had three contenders, President Bush, Governor Bill Clinton and businessman Ross Perot. A Republican, Democrat and Independent. Ross Perot was not buried at 1% or something, he was polling at around 20%, with none of the three contenders polling at 50% and I believe only one contender polling at over 40%.
America was just starting to recover from the recession of the early 1990s, with high unemployment, interest and inflation rates. Not crazy about Republicans who had the White House for twelve years, but not in love with Democrats and sure they should have Congress and the White House. Which was Ross Perot's opportunity to get into the presidential election. Bill Clinton already had the lead in this race going in, but this is the debate I believe, where he sold the deal. Where he was able to convince enough voters, that he was ready and up for the job and was able to layout a vision of what change would mean under him. It was also the debate where Ross Perot came off as likable and competent and not crazy. But I don't think enough people knew enough about him to give him the presidency. This was also President Bush's last opportunity to tell people why he should give another opportunity to be reelected.
But President Bush blew it, because he wasn't able to connect with people and once again looked out- of-touch and I believe failed to layout, how his second term would be different from his first term. How would things get better in a second Bush Administration. He made his campaign almost completely about foreign policy, his success's in foreign policy, when the country was just went through a recession and just starting to recover from it.