Flashback: Reagan Vowed Not To Exploit Mondale's “Youth & Inexperience”


News yesterday of Walter Mondale passing away at the age of 93.

One of the most memorable moments in all time in a presidential debate was back in 1984 when President Reagan was asked about his age.

Debate panelist Henry Trewhitt to President Reagan:

“Mr. President, I want to raise an issue that I think has been lurking out there for 2 or 3 weeks and cast it specifically in national security terms. You already are the oldest President in history. And some of your staff say you were tired after your most recent encounter with Mr. Mondale. I recall yet that President Kennedy had to go for days on end with very little sleep during the Cuban missile crisis. Is there any doubt in your mind that you would be able to function in such circumstances?"

Reagan:

“Not at all, Mr. Trewhitt, and I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience. [Laughter and applause] If I still have time, I might add, Mr. Trewhitt, I might add that it was Seneca or it was Cicero, I don’t know which, that said, “If it was not for the elders correcting the mistakes of the young, there would be no state.” 

The answer even got Mondale laughing.