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Tension City

Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-nixon to Obama-mccain

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Audio Download published by Random House Digital (Random House Digital)

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About This Book

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 forty years of televised political debate in America. A veteran newsman who has presided over eleven presidential and vice-presidential debates, Jim Lehrer gives readers 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.

Oftentimes 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 ninety-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 firestorm of criticism over his performance as moderator of the 2000 Bush-Gore debate. And then there are the excruciating moments when audio lines go dead and TelePrompTers stay dark just seconds before going on the air live in front of a worldwide television audience of millions.

Asked to sum up his experience as a participant in high-level televised debates, President George H. W. Bush memorably likened them to an evening in “tension city.” In Jim Lehrer’s absorbing insider account, we find out that truer words were never spoken.

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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 forty years of televised political debate in America. A veteran newsman who has presided over eleven presidential and vice-presidential debates, Jim Lehrer gives readers 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.

Oftentimes 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 ninety-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 firestorm of criticism over his performance as moderator of the 2000 Bush-Gore debate. And then there are the excruciating moments when audio lines go dead and TelePrompTers stay dark just seconds before going on the air live in front of a worldwide television audience of millions.

Asked to sum up his experience as a participant in high-level televised debates, President George H. W. Bush memorably likened them to an evening in “tension city.” In Jim Lehrer’s absorbing insider account, we find out that truer words were never spoken.

Product Details
Audio Download
Published: July 15, 2012
Publisher: Random House Digital
Imprint: Random House Digital
ISBN: 9780307878458
Other books byJim Lehrer
  • The Special Prisoner

    The Special Prisoner
    John Quincy Watson was a young bomber pilot flying the new B-29 Superfortress in a mission over Japan when he was shot down and taken prisoner. Designated a "special prisoner," as were all Allied airmen, he, along with his comrades, suffered and almost indescribably brutal POW experience under a vicious camp commandant that Watson, with his friends, dubs the "the Hyena." When a chance encounter years after the war brings Watson, now Bishop Watson, into contact with a man he believes to be the Hyena, the Bishop must struggle with an anger and a desire for vengeance he thought he had long put aside. The Special Prisoner is a taut and dramatic novel.

    Last Debate

    Last Debate
    It is the night of the presidential debate. The election is eight days away. Republican nominees James Meredith, a fundamentalist Christian whose ambitions border on white supremacy, is pitted against four reporters who have just discovered damaging information that could ruin his career. What unfolds during The Last Debate will change the course of electoral politics and the news business forever…. As "the ultimate insider-outsider" (Washington Post), and as a moderator of presidential debates past and present, journalist and PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer knows the world he writes about only too well. His novel—a satirical and absorbing story of the behind-the-scenes world of news journalism—also exposes the duplicitous posing and posturing of made-for-TV political events. And with the 2000 elections looming ahead, the targets of his satire—religious fundamentalists, self-important journalists, feral network programming heads—could not be more timely.

    Purple Dots

    Purple Dots
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    Charles Avenue Henderson claims to want nothing more than to relax in rural West Virginia with his beloved wife Mary Jane and live the genteel life of a successful bed-and-breakfast proprietor. But readers of Lehrer's Blue Hearts will know that Henderson can turn at the drop of a hat from the lovely dinners of Rappahannock oysters with sweet potatoes allumettes to his old tricks as a CIA agent whenever he or someone he cares about is in trouble. In Purple Dots, it is Henderson's longtime friend and CIA protege Joshua Bennett who is threatened by a group of senators seeking to derail his nomination as director of the CIA. Purple Dots is both a page turning thriller and something of a spoof of the thriller genre. Henderson, our hero, gathers together all of his retired CIA friends in order to launch a counteroffensive against the senators and their efforts are sometimes ridiculously over the top. As with Blue Hearts and the Last Debate, Lehrer takes the reader on another tour of Washington with all of its vanities and local curiosities exposed. And the search for the famous and mysterious purple dot, the ultimate Washington perk, continues....

    Eureka

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    Ever reliable and responsible, Otis Halstead is a father, a husband (one half of a “well-dressed couple of substance”), and the CEO of Kansas Central Fire and Casualty. He has never done anything out of the ordinary. Until now. The change in Otis starts with the acquisition of an antique toy fire truck, the exact model he had pined for at age ten but never received. Next comes a Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. But Otis’s real coup is the purchase of his one true childhood passion: a red 1952 Cushman Pacemaker motor scooter. For his baffled wife, Sally, this is the final straw. She insists that he see a shrink. But when tragedy strikes uncomfortably close to home, Otis decides he wants out of his sensible, safe life in Eureka, Kansas. And so, a few weeks before his sixtieth birthday, Otis leaves town, heading west on old U.S. 56, a corporate CEO riding a forty-year-old motor scooter with a BB gun strapped to the side. One might say he was in for an adventure. Otis would say he was finally about to experience life.

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