Gore and Kemp Face Off in Vice Presidential Debate

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NBC Today Show
Ann Curry/Gwen Ifill
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Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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Vice President Al Gore makes fun of his reputation for being wooden, and jokes about Jack Kemp's past as an American football hero, in a 1996 vice presidential debate. The two men argue about taxes, affirmative action and abortion in St. Petersburg, Florida.



"Gore and Kemp Face Off in Vice Presidential Debate." Gwen Ifill, correspondent. NBC Today Show. NBCUniversal Media. 10 Oct. 1996. NBC Learn. Web. 29 January 2015.


Ifill, G. (Reporter), & Curry, A. (Anchor). (1996, October 10). Gore and Kemp Face Off in Vice Presidential Debate. [Television series episode]. NBC Today Show. Retrieved from https://preview-archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=5404


"Gore and Kemp Face Off in Vice Presidential Debate" NBC Today Show, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 10/10/1996. Accessed Thu Jan 29 2015 from NBC Learn: https://preview-archives.nbclearn.com/portal/site/k-12/browse/?cuecard=5404


Gore and Kemp Face Off in Vice Presidential Debate

ANN CURRY, anchor: 

Jack Kemp and Al Gore are back on the campaign trail today after a night in the ring. It was their only debate of the campaign. NBC's Gwen Ifill joins us now from St. Petersburg, Florida, with more. Gwen, good morning.

GWEN IFILL reporting: 

Good morning, Ann. Republican Jack Kemp and Democrat Al Gore finally got their turns in the debate spotlight last night, and both men came ready to fight. The two candidates for vice president shared a similar game plan. They wanted to make their differences clear.

Mr. JACK KEMP: I've really got only two differences with Bill Clinton--President Clinton and Vice President Gore: foreign policy and domestic policy.

IFILL: They didn't exactly slug it out. Vice President AL GORE: I offer you a deal, Jack: If you won't use any football stories, I won't tell any of my warm and humorous stories about chlorofluorocarbon abatement.

KEMP: It's a deal.

IFILL: But when they did lock horns, it was on a number of issues that never even came up when running mates Bill Clinton and Bob Dole debated last Sunday, like affirmative action.

Mr. KEMP: Affirmative action should be predicated upon need, not equality of reward.

Vice Pres GORE: With all due respect, I do not believe that Abraham Lincoln would have adopted Bob Dole's position to end all affirmative action.

IFILL: And abortion.

Vice Pres. GORE: We will never allow a woman's right to choose to be taken away.

Mr. KEMP: Bob Dole would never have vetoed that ban on partial birth abortion in the third trimester of a woman's pregnancy.

IFILL: But the main topic of the evening, returning again and again like a boomerang, was taxes--Kemp arguing that an across-the-board 15 percent tax cut will rejuvenate the economy.

Mr. KEMP: Dana Crist of Lancaster said, “The day the tax bill is passed in Congress, she will open a new factory with 40 or 50 or 60 employees in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.” He'll call that trickle down. I call it “Niagara Falls.”

IFILL: While Gore insisted that the Republican proposal is irresponsible.

Vice Pres. GORE: The problem with his version of Niagara Falls is that Senator Dole and Mr. Kemp would put the American economy in a barrel and send it over the falls.

IFILL: Democratic and Republican operatives sought out reporters after the debate to say either that Kemp had been intimidated by Gore...

Mr. GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (Clinton/Gore Campaign): Beyond that, I think this is really the first time you ever saw the quarterback on the defensive all night.

IFILL: ...or that Gore had come across as unlikable.

Mr. JOHN BUCKLEY (Dole/Kemp Campaign): It's something that I think struck all of us as we were looking at it, that, “Boy, this is a guy you wouldn't really want to go out and have a beer with.”

Mr. KEMP: It was a very civil discourse between two old friends.

Vice Pres. GORE: I think we may be able to build a little momentum toward more civility in political campaigns in the future. I know that's...

IFILL: And while Clinton left the stage to Gore, Bob Dole offered his assessment of the meeting.

Mr. BOB DOLE: I think Al Gore is another great exaggerator. They take credit for all the jobs. They don't...

IFILL: Al Gore and Jack Kemp see their political careers beginning, not ending. And last night in St. Petersburg may just have been a warm-up for four, even eight years from now. Ann…

CURRY: Gwen Ifill, thank you so much for your report.