Segments in this Video

First Reagan and Mondale Debate "Housekeeping" (03:57)


Peter Jennings introduces the first debate between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale. League of Women Voters president Dorothy Ridings introduces moderator Barbara Walters and panelists; Walters explains the format.

Deficits: Reagan (04:55)

Reagan says at the beginning of his term, he had to respond to economic crisis and abandoned balanced budget plans. He touts the economic recovery and says growth will solve the deficit. Reporter James Wieghart argues that the deficit will continue growing, noting CBO projections.

Deficits: Mondale (06:45)

Mondale says the deficit is the biggest domestic problem, and Reagan has failed; he cites Reagan’s proposed social security cuts. Reagan says Mondale's tax increase proposal takes money out of the private sector.

Leadership: Mondale (04:25)

Sawyer asks Mondale to substantiate his claim that Reagan fails as a leader due to lack of knowledge. Mondale says Reagan's answers at this debate about the deficit are inadequate, and that Reagan failed to prevent the Lebanon attack due to his inaction.

Leadership: Reagan (04:22)

Reagan states that leadership stems from principles and that leaders should delegate; Mondale argued for deficits in the past. Reagan responds to the accusations that he is about image over substance and has cut the safety net.

Social Security: Mondale and Reagan (02:28)

Mondale says Reagan supports social security cuts. Reagan says Democrats demagogued his proposals in 1982 .After the midterm election, they acknowledged social security was going bankrupt and accepted a bipartisan commission that fixed it.

Religion: Reagan (03:09)

Reagan says religion should not be part of a political campaign, and criticizes Geraldine Ferraro for saying he is not a good Christian; he does not go to church for security reasons.

Religion in Politics: Mondale and Reagan (06:54)

Mondale criticizes the religious right as sectarian and says the Republican platform advocates a religious test for judges. Ronald Reagan affirms church-state separation and suggests he doesn't support that platform provision. Reporter Fred Barnes asks if Mondale just objects to conservative ministers' involvement in anti-Vietnam activism; Mondale argues that his position allows for conservative or liberal ministers' involvement.

Public Opinion: Mondale (04:13)

Wieghart says the electorate is shifting away from the Democratic Party. Mondale returns the focus to the issues in this race and argues that he is more in line with people's priorities.

Reagan Administration: Reagan (07:37)

Reagan notes his record of tax cuts, inflation reduction, increased employment, and increased SAT scores. Wieghart argues that weakening government harmed quality of life in other areas. Reagan counters that crime is down and he has cleaned national parks.

Abortion: Mondale and Reagan (02:21)

Reagan calls for making adoption easier; Mondale agrees, but disagrees on abortion law. Mondale uses his remaining time to rebut Reagan's earlier comments on agricultural policy. Moderator Barbara Walters asks the candidates to stop discussing issues from earlier segments.

Taxes: Mondale (03:30)

Mondale says his proposal leaves the middle class better off than Reagan's proposal of a sales tax or flat tax; Reagan will have to raise taxes after the election.

Taxes: Reagan (04:20)

Reagan says he cut taxes across the board, maintaining the same progressivity of tax structure. He attacks the Carter-Mondale administration's social security tax increase. Reagan denies secretly planning to raise taxes.

Taxes and Medicare (01:56)

Mondale states that Reagan said "there you go again" when Carter alleged he would cut Medicare, but Reagan tried to cut Medicare. Reagan used that phrase again, about Mondale's claim that he will raise taxes. Reagan rebuts him on Medicare.

Uneven Recovery: Reagan (05:33)

Wieghart says poverty increased under Reagan and his budgets hurt the poor. Reagan says the rate of increase in poverty declined and that he limited social programs to the truly needy. Wieghart asks Reagan about his statement, "man does not live on bread alone;” Reagan was talking about the revival of patriotism and optimism.

Poverty: Mondale (06:25)

Mondale calls for urban initiatives and job training, and remarks on debt reduction; linking deficits to unfavorable trade balance and interest rates. Reagan rejects the linkage, saying interest rates are linked to inflation; they have declined under his administration, but remain excessive due to lingering inflationary expectations.

American Morale and Deficit: Mondale (02:52)

Mondale credits Reagan with reviving American morale. Reagan should present a plan on deficits, so voters can compare his plan with Mondale's frank advocacy of tax increases.

American Morale and Deficit: Reagan (04:48)

Reagan counters claims that he relies on magic to reduce the deficit; he brought growth and recommended budget cuts. Mondale responds to claims that he defended deficits during the Carter Administration.

Closing Statement: Reagan (05:01)

Barbara Walters makes a mistake; Reagan turns down a rebuttal and will give his closing statement. Reagan asks whether America is better off than four years ago, notes economic improvement, and argues that America was militarily weak under Carter.

Closing Statement: Mondale (04:35)

Mondale says the rich are better off, the middle class are the same, and the low-income are worse off. He says the real question is whether we and our children will be better off, and we should vote based on values like fairness, not self-interest.

Debate Review (00:57)

Moderator Barbara Walters notes upcoming debates and thanks the candidates and panelists.

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Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale Debate (10/7/1984): U.S. Presidential Election Debates

Part of the Series : U.S. Presidential Election Debates
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Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale engage in their first Presidential debate of the 1984 campaign, with the questions restricted to domestic issues. Reagan seeks to focus on economic performance under his administration as compared to Carter-Mondale, while Mondale focuses on the deficit, arguing that Reagan's prediction of growing out of the deficit are fanciful; Reagan lacks an honest plan for confronting it. Note: This historical recording may contain variations in audio and video quality based on the limitations of the original source material. An ABC News Production. 

Length: 92 minutes

Item#: BVL94917

ISBN: 978-1-68272-167-4

Copyright date: ©1984

Closed Captioned

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