The Nine Most Memorable Debate Moments

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Ford: "There Is No Soviet Domination of Eastern Europe"


The second presidential debate between President Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, which took place in San Francisco, was supposed to showcase the incumbent’s strong suit: foreign policy. It didn’t work out that way. Ford had negotiated with Soviet leaders while Carter was a one-term former governor of Georgia. But the president squandered his advantage in reply to a question from Max Frankel of The New York Times. “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,” he said, “and there never will be under a Ford administration.” This was certainly news to the Poles, Czechs, Serbs, Romanians, Hungarians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians, living behind the Iron Curtain. Knowing the president knew better, Frankel gave Ford a chance to extricate himself with a follow-up question. Ford didn’t take the hint.

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