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Tension City by Jim Lehrer

Tension City

Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain

by Jim Lehrer

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Title Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
5 Hrs. 19 Min.


Narrated by the author, this special audiobook recording of Tension City includes exclusive interview and debate excerpts from 1960 through 2008!

"In his quiet but intense way, Jim Lehrer earns the trust of the major political players of our time," notes Barbara Walters. "He explains and exposes their hopes and dreams, their strengths and failures as they try to put their best foot forward."

From the man widely hailed as "the Dean of Moderators" comes a lively and revealing book that pulls back the curtain on more than 40 years of televised political debate in America. A veteran newsman who has presided over 11 presidential and vice-presidential debates, Jim Lehrer gives listeners a ringside seat for some of the epic political battles of our time, shedding light on all of the critical turning points and rhetorical faux pas that helped determine the outcome of America's presidential elections - and with them the course of history. Drawing on his own experiences as "the man in the middle seat", in-depth interviews with the candidates and his fellow moderators, and transcripts of key exchanges, Lehrer isolates and illuminates what he calls the "major moments" and "killer questions" that defined the debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain.

Often times, these moments involve the candidates themselves and are seared into our collective political memory. Michael Dukakis stumbles badly over a question about the death penalty. Dan Quayle compares himself to John F. Kennedy once too often. Barack Obama and John McCain barely make eye contact over the course of a 90-minute discussion. At other times, the debate moderators themselves become part of the story - and Lehrer is there to give us a backstage look at the drama. Peter Jennings suggests surprising the candidates by suspending the carefully negotiated rules minutes before the 1988 presidential debate - to the consternation of his fellow panelists. Lehrer himself weathers a f...

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