Debates Don’t Always Reveal Character
By Taylor Stockdale
As Sarah Palin and Joe Biden prepare for Thursday’s vice presidential debate, I am pulled back to the last time an unknown candidate appeared on the national stage in such a forum. It was 1992, when my father (John McCain’s senior officer in Vietnam), Adm. James B. Stockdale, appeared on stage to debate Al Gore and Dan Quayle.
Anyone over 30 will probably remember the spectacle. Messrs. Gore and Quayle were engaged in a bitter battle when, late in the race, my father accepted Ross Perot’s invitation to be his running mate. That decision created a rare, three person vice-presidential debate.
In an attempt to introduce himself to the American people, my father began with the philosophical questions “Who am I? Why am I here?” But as the evening wore on, he struggled.
Watching that debate from the front row in Atlanta was a surreal experience. My father, a bona fide war hero, was trying to adapt to a format of discourse utterly foreign to him. More from the Wall Street Journal
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