Segments in this Video

Clinton Dole Debate "Housekeeping" (02:35)


Peter Jennings introduces ABC's coverage of the first debate between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in 1996. Moderator Jim Lehrer introduces the candidates and explains the debate format.

Clinton's Opening Statement (02:01)

Clinton argues that we are better off than four years ago. He says he pursued smaller government and notes that were passed, and his remaining agenda.

Dole's Opening Statement (02:07)

Dole says people cannot always rely on themselves, alludes to his biography, and talks of giving back to country. He says Americans are worried about their future.

Role of Government (03:27)

Clinton demurs on debating the role of government, saying he cut government; he places focus on specific initiatives he favored and Dole opposed. Dole says he trusts people whereas Clinton trusts government, citing Clinton's 1993 healthcare plan and tax increases.

Better Off than Four Years Ago (03:29)

Dole says the economy is in its slowest growth in a century and notes the tax burden. Clinton cites the job growth rate and cites economic statistics; we're better off than four years ago.

Condition of Medicare (03:31)

Clinton says Dole voted against Medicare in 1965 and voted for Newt Gingrich's Medicare cuts. He acknowledges the need for Medicare reform, but says you must believe in Medicare to reform it. Dole says he supports Medicare, but Clinton is allowing it to go broke.

Dole Economic Proposals (03:11)

Dole advocates his tax cut. Clinton says the tax cut will explode the deficit. Dole says we can increase government by 14% over four years instead of Clinton's proposed 20%.

Special Interests (07:03)

Clinton denies trial lawyers control him; he would sign the right tort reform bill. He says Bob Dole backed big tobacco and polluters. Clinton and Dole debate who will better bring campaign finance reform.

War on Drugs (03:37)

Dole holds Clinton responsible for rising youth drug use; Clinton expresses concern about the problem and talks about his policies and actions. Dole attacks his policies and Clinton criticizes "politicization" of drugs.

Gun Control (03:42)

Dole would back repeal of the Brady Bill and assault weapons ban, and says Clinton insufficiently funds background checks and doesn't enforce gun laws. Clinton argues for the Brady Bill and assault weapons ban.

Foreign Policy (03:47)

Clinton discusses post-Cold War foreign policy including trade expansion, integrating Central and Eastern Europe, and managing Russian decline. He and Dole debate interventions in Haiti, Bosnia and Somalia.

When to Send Troops (03:50)

Dole says U.S. interests must be at stake to justify sending troops, saying Clinton deploys in response to UN interests. Clinton says U.S. interests and values must be at stake and his deployments have been successful. The candidates discuss a North Korea nuclear deal.

Clinton's Move to the Center (03:10)

Clinton notes that he signed Helms-Burton, toughening the Cuban embargo. Dole accuses Clinton of election year conversions to conservative positions, reminding voters of his earlier tax increase and health care proposal. Clinton counters that Dole backed tax increases.

Healthcare (03:32)

Dole discusses Clinton's healthcare proposal. Clinton suggests he learned his lesson and is taking an incremental approach. Each candidate talks about incremental proposals. Clinton says Republicans could have had a moderate bill all along but refused cooperation.

Iraq Response (03:11)

Clinton expanded the no fly zone in response to the latest Iraq crisis. Dole says Saddam Hussein became stronger during Clinton's presidency and criticizes his response; Clinton defends unilateral U.S. action.

Peace in the Middle East? (03:22)

Dole criticizes the recent Middle East Summit; Clinton did not advocate an unconditional end to violence. Clinton says his Middle East policy is consistent and discusses the peace process.

Bridge to Past or Future (03:46)

Clinton notes that Dole talked of building a bridge to the past. Clinton is troubled by some of what goes on today, but we must look to the future. Clinton notes economic and social improvements; Dole accuses him of taking too much credit.

Education Reform (06:58)

Dole favors abolishing the Department of Education. He backs opportunity scholarships, saying he is not opposed to all federal action. Clinton says he has increased school choice but argues private school vouchers should happen only at the state level.

Is Clinton is Liberal? (03:57)

Dole says Clinton officials are inexperienced, liberal elitists; he cites several Clinton policies as excessively liberal. Clinton dismisses the liberalism charge and cites improving social and economic indicators.

Dueling Agendas (06:53)

Clinton says he made government smaller and stopped Republicans' budget cuts; he criticizes these cuts. Dole argues Clinton is liberal and advocates his tax cuts. Clinton advocates his education tax credit.

Issuing Pardons (02:33)

Dole raises questions over reports that Clinton plans to issue pardons to those he has connections with. Clinton denies this.

Candidates Frame the Election (04:18)

Dole turns down Lehrer's invitation to directly define Clinton for voters. Dole says he keeps his word; the election is about trust, and Clinton offers only fear that Republicans will cut Medicare. Clinton promotes his policies.

Credit for Deficit Reduction (03:19)

Clinton cites his successes and acknowledges violating his pledge to cut taxes, but says Americans are better off with the deficit and interest rates down. Dole credits the Republican Congress and other factors for declining deficits and job growth.

Clinton's Closing Statement (02:02)

Clinton says America is stronger than four years ago, and that he has laid out plans for a better future. Empathy drives his decisions; he cites sympathetic stories.

Dole's Closing Statement (02:18)

Dole says America faces the danger of a bleak future, especially with youth drug use. He urges the young to stay off drugs.

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Bill Clinton and Bob Dole Debate (10/6/1996): U.S. Presidential Election Debates

Part of the Series : U.S. Presidential Election Debates
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Bill Clinton and Bob Dole engage in the first of their presidential debates in the 1996 campaign. Clinton argues that America is better off than four years ago, while Dole tries to focus on Clinton's more liberal policies. The candidates highlight their positions on Medicare,drugs, special interets, gun control, foreign policy, healthcare, education, and the national deficit. An ABC News Production.

Length: 92 minutes

Item#: BVL94924

ISBN: 978-1-68272-174-2

Copyright date: ©1996

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.