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Much attention has been afforded in this presidential campaign debating season to the attempts of the various contenders to utter memorable lines, most of which have ended in forms of failure perhaps best summed up by Hillary Clinton’s stabs at biting humor in her last two debates with Barack Obama. Only Democrat Joe Biden’s putdown of Republican Rudy Giuliani’s disaster-mongering campaign theme (“a noun, a verb and 9/11”) came close to making the mark.

But there really have been no 2008 equivalents of Ronald Reagan 1984 mockery of Walter Mondale’s “youth and inexperience” or Lloyd Bentsen’s devastating “you’re no Jack Kennedy” line in his 1988 vice presidential dust-up with Dan Quayle.

And there certainly has been nothing so delicious as William F. Buckley’s best line from his 1965 New York mayoral campaign debate with memorable Republican John Lindsay and forgettable Democrat Abe Beame.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/contemplating-former-brilliance-bill-buckley#