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The Miller Center: Presidential Campaign Debates

September 21, 2012

by Amy Davis

Carter v. Reagan Debates

The 2012 presidential debates are approaching.  Many social studies teachers may incorporate the Obama-Romney debates into their classroom.  The Miller Center is an excellent resource for teachers who would like to provide opportunities for students to compare/contrast this election with past ones.

The surface similarities the 1980 Carter-Reagan campaign with this current one are myriad.  The incumbent Democrat, facing a difficult economy, was seen in Carter as well as presently seen in Obama.  The Republican challenger in both cases either asked or is asking Americans, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

But getting past the surface takes a little more research.  If a teacher was interested in pursuing the similarities and differences, on a deeper level, between the 1980 and the 2012 elections, the Miller Center’s site on the Campaigns and Elections of Jimmy Carter would be very helpful.

Teachers will find both the 1976 and 1980 elections summarized here.  Additionally, videos are posted that include clips of the presidential debates from each election.  Hopefully, these resources can help teachers find ways to make past elections and debates relevant to the current election and debates.

 

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