7 Memorable Moments from Presidential (and VP) Debates

The CNN/YouTube Republican debate is tomorrow, and I'll probably forget to watch. But perhaps in five or ten years I can cherry-pick some of the funnier moments and post them for you here. In the second installment of our laziest and least-frequent regular feature, we've rounded up a few great moments in presidential (and vice-presidential) debate history.

1. Lloyd Bentsen vs. Dan Quayle

Year: 1988
Quote: "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

2. Ronald Reagan vs. Walter Mondale

Year: 1984
Quote: "I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

3. Admiral James Stockdale

Date: 1992
Quote: "I know how American governments...can be..."

Before we get to more videos, here are a few zingers and gaffes I couldn't find on YouTube.

"When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad, 'Where's the beef?'" "“Walter Mondale addressing Gary Hart in the Democratic Primary Debate, March 11, 1984
* * * * *
"There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration." "“Gerald Ford, misspeaking in a debate with Jimmy Carter, October 8, 1976
* * * * *
Moderator: "Senator Dole, the president said in his opening statement, 'We are better off today than we were four years ago.' Do you agree?"

Bob Dole: "Well, he's better off than he was four years ago."

Bill Clinton: "I agree with that. That's right." --October 6, 1996

Here are a few from this year's campaign.

4. John McCain on Hillary Clinton

Date: 2007
Quote: "I wasn't there [at Woodstock]...I was tied up at the time."

5. Joe Biden on Rudy Giuliani

Date: 2007
Quote: "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, a verb and 9/11."

6. Dennis Kucinich on UFOs

Date: 2007
Quote: "Did you see a UFO?" "I did."

7. Rudy Giuliani on Abortion

Date: 2007
Quote: "For someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that's happening right now." [Thanks to reader Christopher Handel for sending this one in.]

Do you have a favorite debate moment we didn't mention? A different Reagan knockout blow? Clinton working the crowd? A classic Chester A. Arthur zinger? Let us know.

Last time on 'The Projectionist': Six Supergroups Who Saved The World.

Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.


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