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

Lehrer, Jim

438 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1400069173 / ISBN 13: 9781400069170
Published by Random House, New York, 2011
Used Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Black Falcon Books (Wellesley, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Second printing. Inscribed and signed by the author on the title page: "To S-- / Jim Lehrer." Book is square and unmarked; corners sharp, spine ends unbumped. The dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $26.00). Brodart protected. Size: 8vo - over 7" - 9" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 004782

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Tension City: Inside the Presidential ...

Publisher: Random House, New York

Publication Date: 2011

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

About this title

Synopsis:

America's greatest moderator, Jim Lehrer, tells the inside story of American political debates, explaining what worked, what didn't and why. A fascinating look at American politics and politicians.

Review:

A Letter from Author Jim Lehrer

"Someday I’m going to write a book about it all."

I had been saying that to family and friends for years, about my experiences moderating presidential and vice presidential debates. It was not that I believed I had anything deep or important to say, but I knew I had collected--lived through--a few stories that might be worth recounting. I had also interviewed, on videotape, nearly all of the candidates who participated in those high-pressure, nationally-televised encounters about their experiences.

It was in such a chat with former President George H. W. Bush that I got the line that eventually ended up being the title of book.

“Those big time things... they’re Tension City, Jim.”

I decided that, along with the stories and interviews, I would also sprinkle in some bits of advice to the various players in debates.

Most were fairly obvious. Candidates, answer the question. Whatever else you do, respond directly to what you were asked. Yes, tell an anecdote from your childhood, or put it in historical context, but do it after having answered the question.

Moderators spend some time in front of a mirror before a debate saying out loud, “This is not about me. This debate is not about me. It is about the candidates, not the moderator. ” Ask direct, simple questions. Stay away for all gotcha questions and beware of hypotheticals. Do your homework not in order to prepare great questions but to be relaxed and informed enough to listen to the answers.

I also wanted to make the case about how important these nationally televised debates are to the process of choosing the people who will run the country.

As for timing, I decided that moderating my eleventh, the first Obama-McCain debate in 2008, would be my last. If asked to do another in 2012, I would decline on the grounds that others have the opportunity to do good and/or bad for our democracy in front of millions of people.

So. I was free to write this book. That “someday” had arrived.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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