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WATCH: Five lively debate moments

With their massive television audiences, general election debates are often the most dramatic moments of a campaign. Every utterance is scrutinized,  zingers and burns grab headlines and gaffes can wreck campaigns. Here's a look back at some of the more memorable general election debates of the past.

Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter met up in the fall of 1980. Carter rattled off a laundry list of contradictions in Reagan's healthcare policies. Reagan wasn't having it, and let him know with the now famous "There you go again" quip.

Mitt Romney flubbed the specifics on what President Barack Obama said following Benghazi and got fact checked by CNN's Candy Crowley. Obama's "Please proceed, governor" line and the exchange became the top soundbites played across cable news the following day.

In the 1988 race, CNN's Bernard Shaw asked Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis if his wife was raped and murdered, would he favor the death penalty. While his response wasn't out of the mainstream, it was wooden and completely without feeling, and it hurt him.

In this exchange from 2000, for some inexplicable reason Al Gore decided it would be a good idea to invade George W. Bush's space as he was answering a question. Bush's expression is priceless and Gore's comeback "What about the Dingle-Norwood bill?" was hopelessly lame.

Not all great debate moments come from the nominees. Dan Quayle's youth was an issue during the 1988 campaign and it came up during the vice presidential debate. Quayle's answer to Tom Brokaw's question about his experience was going just fine until he brought up John Kennedy. That's when Lloyd Bentsen unleashed the sickest burn in modern debate history. The camera angle as Bentsen delivered the blow only added to its brutality.

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›