Inside the Presidential Debates
by Jim Lehrer
With an update by the author for the 2012 election.
A veteran newsman who has presided over eleven presidential and vice-presidential debates, Jim Lehrer gives readers a ringside seat for some of the epic political battles of our time, shedding light on all of the critical turning points and rhetorical faux pas that helped determine the outcome of America’s presidential elections. Drawing on his own experiences as “the man in the middle seat,” in-depth interviews with the candidates and his fellow moderators, and transcripts of key exchanges, Lehrer illuminates what he calls the “Major Moments” and “killer questions” that defined the debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain. In this paperback edition, he also offers his expert analysis of the 2012 Republican primary debates.
Asked to sum up his experience as a participant in high-level televised debates, President George H. W. Bush memorably likened them to an evening in “tension city.” In Jim Lehrer’s absorbing account, we find out that truer words were never spoken.
“A brisk and engaging memoir.”—The Washington Post
“Enthralling . . . remarkable . . . a wonderful political memoir.”—Bookreporter
“A really good read . . . [There is] no debating quality of Jim Lehrer’s book.”—Associated Press
“Jim Lehrer is a national monument, and this riveting book shows how he became America’s moderator.”—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage
“A political junkie’s backstage pass.”—The Capital Times
- Random House Publishing Group, September 2011
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