Over 16 million viewers tuned into Larry King on Nov. 10, 1993 to watch then Vice President Al Gore debate billionaire businessman and infomercial-specialist Ross Perot on the proposed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Prior to the showdown — in which a calm, suave Gore literally towered over a snide and snarling Perot — national support for the Clinton Administration’s attempt to finalize NAFTA was only at 34%. After the debate, it measured around 57%.
Larry King presided over the intense 90-minute discussion, during which the prickly, protectionist Perot sparred with Gore, who likened the free trade deal with the politics of “hope” and “change”. In one instance, Gore rejects Perot’s anti-lobbyist rhetoric, pointing out that the Texan has his own history of lobbying. “You’re lying,” sputters Perot, his shoulders literally rubbing against his interlocutor. NAFTA was passed in the House of Representative days later, in no small part because of this primetime spectacle.
Next Frank Sinatra, 1988