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The U.S. Presidential Debates Quiz
by Staff
Even before the first-ever televised presidential debate in 1960, voters have turned to debates to form opinions about the candidates. How much do you know about these political showdowns? Cast your vote for the right answers to find out!

The first televised presidential debate, dubbed the Great Debate, was between which two candidates?

  • Vice President Richard Nixon and Senator John F. Kennedy
  • Governor Jimmy Carter and President Gerald Ford
  • Democratic Senator Walter Mondale and Republican Senator Bob Dole

What two Republican primary candidates debated outlawing communism on a radio broadcast in 1948?

  • Harry Truman and Thomas Dewey
  • Thomas Dewey and Harold Stassen
  • Strom Thurmond and Harry Truman

After a 16-year period with no public presidential debates, what organization sponsored three presidential debates in 1976?

  • the Republican National Committee
  • the League of Women Voters Education Fund
  • the Center for Public Integrity

After the 1984 election, what organization(s) began sponsoring presidential debates?

  • NPR and PBS
  • the Center for Public Integrity
  • Democratic and Republican national parties

What nonprofit organization has sponsored every presidential debate between 1998 and 2016?

  • the Center for Public Integrity
  • the Commission on Presidential Debates
  • Democratic and Republican national parties

What sort of logistics does the Commission on Presidential Debates regulate?

  • audience members
  • room temperature and podium heights
  • candidate clothing

What sites are off limits for a presidential debate?

  • a candidate's alma mater
  • a paying university
  • a town with a minimum of 3,000 available hotel rooms

In 1980, what candidate chose not to debate Republican candidate Ronald Reagan and independent candidate John Anderson?

  • Walter Mondale
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Gerald Ford

During the 1984 presidential debate, which candidate said "I will not make age an issue in this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

  • Ronald Reagan
  • George H.W. Bush
  • Walter Mondale

What independent candidate debated George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992?

  • John Anderson
  • H. Ross Perot
  • Steve Forbes

What candidate was caught repeatedly checking his watch in a town hall debate during the 1992 elections?

  • President George H.W. Bush
  • Bill Clinton
  • H. Ross Perot

What vice presidential candidate said "I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy"

  • Senator Lloyd Bentsen
  • Senator Dan Quayle
  • Senator John Edwards

What forms of social media have NOT partnered with presidential debates as of late, allowing voters to submit questions to candidates?

  • YouTube and Twitter
  • Myspace and Facebook
  • YikYak and Snapchat

What presidential candidate asked voters, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

  • Ronald Reagan
  • George H.W. Bush
  • Bill Clinton

In 1976, what candidate declared, "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe."

  • President Gerald Ford
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Walter Mondale

What debate holds the record for most viewers in history?

  • Fox News Network's 2015 GOP primary debate
  • Reagan and Carter
  • Obama and Romney

What journalist has served as moderator for more presidential debates than any other?

  • Wolf Blitzer
  • Bob Schieffer
  • Jim Lehrer

What four universities were selected to host the 2016 presidential and vice presidential debates?

  • Washington University in St. Louis, University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Wright State University in Ohio, and Virginia's Longwood University
  • Ole Miss, Syracuse University, Hofstra University in New York, and Hampden-Sydney in Virginia
  • Salem University in West Virginia, Wofford College in South Carolina, Whitman College in Washington State, and Colorado College

Who said, "The big problem this country has is being too politically correct"?

  • Donald Trump
  • Rand Paul
  • Ben Carson

Who said, "The Supreme Court is not the supreme being"?

  • Mike Huckabee
  • Ted Cruz
  • Ben Carson

Who said, "I'm a progressive, but I'm a progressive who likes to get things done”?

  • Hillary Clinton
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Martin O’Malley

As part of an effort to curb spending, what government subsidy did Republican candidate Mitt Romney say he would end during the debate against Barack Obama?

  • Medicaid
  • PBS
  • Planned Parenthood

Saturday Night Live has parodied nearly every presidential debate all the way back to when Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter set foot on stage in the late '70s. Which SNL debate spoof coined the word "strategery"?

  • George W. Bush and Al Gore
  • George W. Bush and John Kerry
  • Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush

Which election year had the most presidential debates?

  • 1960
  • 1984
  • 1992

True or false: The Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debates were the first face-to-face presidential debates.

  • true
  • false

Where did the first of three presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain take place in 2008?

  • Stanford University
  • Syracuse University
  • Ole Miss

How many debates did President Barack Obama participate in before winning the 2008 election?

  • 24
  • 14
  • 18

In the first of the 2015 GOP primary debates, to whom did moderator Megyn Kelly ask, "When did you actually become a Republican?"

  • Rand Paul
  • Donald Trump
  • Ben Carson

What famed "Saturday Night Live" writer has made appearances to spoof 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders?

  • Larry David
  • Will Ferrell
  • Dana Carvey

What must occur for an independent presidential candidate to participate in the debates?

  • The candidate must pay $30,000 to the Commission on Presidential Debates.
  • The candidate must exceed 15 percent in the national polls two weeks before the debates.
  • At least 15 percent of the American population must identify as politically independent.