September 23, 1976
1976: After 1960, no debates were held in the next three presidential elections. But they returned in 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter faced off with Republican President Gerald Ford. The first event (pictured here, and the first to be televised in color) was held in Philadelphia.
What you might remember: In the second debate, Ford stated: There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.... I dont believe that the Romanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I dont believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. That statement surprised many Americans not to mention Romanians and Poles and helped erode the perceived advantage in foreign policy that Ford held over Carter, a former governor of Georgia.
What you might have forgotten: A technical glitch at the first debate in Philadelphia caused the sound to go dead. Carter and Ford remained onstage for nearly half an hour while the problem was fixed.