The Biggest Debate Gaffe Ever

The 1976 election was Gerald Ford’s race to lose … and he lost it.

Listen to Episode 17 of Whistlestop:

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In 1976, presidential challenger Jimmy Carter told Playboy that he had “committed adultery in [his] heart many times.” It was but one of several colorful episodes that defined that year’s presidential campaign—a campaign that gave us the first debates of the modern era. In this episode of Whistlestop, we let you listen in on some of the highs—and lows—of those debates.


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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Email: whistlestop@slate.com

Podcast production by Tony Field.