Four days before the 1988 presidential general election, featuring a matchup between then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis, I was asked to appear on the cable television program that helped usher in the age of political broadcast incivility: CNN’s Crossfire. At the ripe age of 21, I was serving as Executive Director of College Democrats of America, and I was poised to debate my counterpart at College Republicans, as well as the ultra-formidable Pat Buchanan.
I really didn’t know the Duke’s policy positions that intimately — I had worked for Al Gore in the primaries — so I pulled an all-nighter reading white papers. In addition to being exhausted, I was sick to my stomach: extremely nervous because I WAS GOING ON FRICKIN’ NATIONAL TV TO DEBATE PAT BUCHANAN!!!
So, green in more ways that one, equipped with an all-purpose Watergate one-liner to parry Pat, and sporting my regrettable 80’s era hairdo (Does Justin Bieber owe me a commission?), I had my 10 minutes in the bright lights. Enjoy:
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