Bill Clinton demonstrates the power of empathy at the 1992 presidential debate.

The First Town Hall–Style Presidential Debate

The First Town Hall–Style Presidential Debate

Bite-sized stories from presidential campaign history.
Oct. 14 2015 11:38 AM

Feeling Your Pain

Where did our fixation with the empathetic capacity of presidential candidates come from?

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Listen to Episode 18 of Whistlestop:

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Does a presidential candidate need to be able to feel voters’ pain? Ever since 1992, the answer has been a resounding yes. That’s when candidate Bill Clinton took advantage of a presidential debate stage in Richmond, Virginia, to demonstrate the stark differences between his own bedside manner and that of his two opponents. In this episode of Whistlestop, we listen back to that moment and reflect on the ways it shaped voters’ expectations in the years since.

Whistlestop is Slate’s podcast about presidential campaign history. Hosted by our political correspondent and Political Gabfest panelist John Dickerson, each installment revisits a memorable (or even a forgotten) moment from America’s quadrennial carnival.

Whistlestop is sponsored by The Great Courses and its collection of lecture series geared toward business professionals, including Scientific Secrets for a Powerful Memory, How Conversation Works, Art of Public Speaking, and Influence: Mastering Life's Most Powerful Skill. Order any of these courses for just $9.95 by visiting thegreatcourses.com/whistlestop.

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