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Agility: 1996

Just as Quayle was able to reverse field, so did Al Gore when he and Bill Clinton campaigned for reelection four years later. Their opponents were two formidable politicians: Bob Dole, the veteran senate majority leader, was the Republican presidential candidate and Jack Kemp, the vice presidential candidate. Gore was to engage in a one-on-one debate with Kemp on October 9, 1996, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Kemp would be a much more formidable opponent than the callow Quayle or the cantankerous Perot. Kemp had served nine terms in the House of Representatives and four years as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, but his greatest claim to fame was as a professional football quarterback. He had played with the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills and led the latter to two American Football League championships. In all his public appearances, Kemp played the football hero image to the hilt, sporting an enormous, jewel-bedecked championship ring on his right hand for all the world to see. Moreover, he had developed a public persona as a charming, garrulous speaker.


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