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US Presidential Debates Over The Years: Gaffes, Chaos, Scandals

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From Gerald Ford’s catastrophic Soviet gaffe to Ronald Reagan’s witty remark about his age and Joe Biden asking Donald Trump to “shut up,” US presidential debates have been funny, vicious and everything in between.

Here are some of the most memorable moments from more than 60 years of modern American debates.

Kennedy – Nixon, September 26, 1960

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It was the first televised debate of its kind, when everything was still broadcast in black-and-white, and it established the importance of a politician’s public image. Republican Richard Nixon looked poised to win the election, having served two terms as the Vice President under Dwight Eisenhower.

But the debate did not go well for him. Nixon refused to wear makeup and appeared pale and sweaty in front of more than 66 million viewers, while the young Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy looked tanned and relaxed. While Nixon addressed the moderator, Kennedy looked at the camera, speaking directly to his voters.

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How much the debate visuals pushed the needle is disputed, but Kennedy went on to defeat Nixon at the polls.

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Ford – Carter, October 6, 1976

The first debate between Republican president Gerald Ford and Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter was marked by a 27-minute loss of audio. The second debate didn’t go well for Ford either when he made a gaffe that arguably cost him the presidency.

At the height of the Cold War, Ford uttered that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration,” even though the Soviet Union had troops deployed across the Eastern bloc.

Six days passed before Ford explained himself, saying he spoke not of the literal military presence but meant that people’s spirits there hadn’t been crushed.

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Reagan – Mondale, October 21, 1984

Republican president Ronald Reagan was 73 when he ran for a second term against 56-year-old Walter Mondale. But he managed to turn his age into his strength with a witty answer that went down in history.

“I will not make age an issue of this campaign,” Reagan said when asked whether he was fit for office. “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” he noted.

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Bush – Clinton – Perot, October 15, 1992

The second presidential debate in the 1992 race pitted incumbent president George Bush against his future successor Bill Clinton and Ross Perot, an independent candidate.

Bush was caught on camera looking at his watch while Clinton talked to an audience member during a town hall debate, a move that cost Bush dearly.

Years later, Bush admitted he hated the debates, saying, “Maybe that’s why I was looking at it, ‘Only 10 more minutes of this crap.’”

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Obama – Romney, October 22, 2012

During a debate against President Barack Obama, Republican challenger Mitt Romney lamented that the US Navy had fewer ships presently than it did in 1916.

Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military’s changed,” Obama retorted.

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We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

Obama’s comments went viral online.

Trump – Clinton, October 9, 2016

The second debate of the 2016 US presidential election pitting Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was particularly vicious.

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Coming shortly after the release of a video in which Trump was heard boasting that his fame allowed him to grope women, the Republican billionaire went after his opponent’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, accusing him of being “so abusive to women.”

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Trump also vowed to have his opponent investigated over her use of a private email account when she was the Secretary of State.

It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton said.

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Trump shot back, “Because you’d be in jail.”

Trump – Biden, September 29, 2020

The first debate of the 2020 presidential election, featuring Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, devolved into shouting and insults.

With Trump constantly interrupting him, Biden snapped, saying, “Will you shut up, man?”

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The Democrat also called his opponent a “clown” and “Putin’s puppy.”

Trump for his part kept evading the question of whether he would recognise the results of the election.

Powerless to control the two candidates, the debate moderator, Fox News journalist Chris Wallace, later described feeling as “desperation.”

AFP

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Meta Deletes 63,000 Accounts In ‘Yahoo Boys’ Crackdown

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Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has removed 63,000 accounts associated with the notorious “Yahoo Boys” scam group, the company announced in its Q1 2024 Adversarial Threat Report on Wednesday.

The accounts, deleted over the past few weeks, were used for financial sextortion scams and distributing blackmail scripts. Meta reported that a smaller network of 2,500 accounts, linked to around 20 individuals, primarily targeted adult men in the United States using fake identities.

Meta said it identified and disabled these accounts through a combination of advanced technical signals and comprehensive investigations, enhancing its automated detection systems.

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“Financial sextortion is a borderless crime, fueled in recent years by the increased activity of Yahoo Boys, loosely organised cybercriminals operating largely out of Nigeria that specialize in different types of scams,” the social media giant stated.

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It added, “We’ve removed around 63,000 accounts in Nigeria attempting to target people with financial sextortion scams, including a coordinated network of around 2,500 accounts.”

“We’ve also removed a set of Facebook accounts, Pages, and groups run by Yahoo Boys—banned under our Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy—that were attempting to organize, recruit and train new scammers,” the company explained.

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During the investigation, Meta said it found that most scammers’ attempts were unsuccessful, though some had targeted minors. These cases were reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Meta revealed that it also shared information with other tech companies via the Tech Coalition’s Lantern program to help curb these scams across platforms.

READ ALSO: FG Slashes Allowances Of Stranded Nigerians On Scholarship In Russia The Federal Gov

Further, the parent company of Facebook said it removed around 7,200 assets in Nigeria, including 1,300 Facebook accounts, 200 pages, and 5,700 groups that were providing scam-related resources.

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These assets were found offering scripts and guides for scams and sharing links to collections of photos for creating fake accounts, it expounded.

Since this disruption, Meta’s systems have been actively blocking attempts from these groups to return, continually improving their detection capabilities.

The company noted that it has also been working closely with law enforcement, supporting investigations and prosecutions by responding to legal requests and alerting authorities to imminent threats.

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The social media giant stated that its efforts extend beyond account removal.

“We also fund and support NCMEC and the International Justice Mission to run Project Boost, a program that trains law enforcement agencies around the world in processing and acting on NCMEC reports.

“We’ve conducted several training sessions so far, including in Nigeria and the Cote d’Ivoire, with our most recent session taking place just last month,” the firm revealed.

To protect users, especially teens, Meta disclosed that it has implemented stricter messaging settings for users under 16 (under 18 in certain countries) and displays safety notices to encourage cautious behaviour online.

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READ ALSO: FG Slashes Allowances Of Stranded Nigerians On Scholarship In Russia The Federal Gov

Last week, Meta was fined $220m by Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission for multiple violations of data protection laws linked to WhatsApp.

The investigation, initiated in May 2021, found that Meta’s privacy policies infringed on users’ rights, including unauthorized data sharing and discriminatory practices.

Meta plans to appeal the decision, arguing that it disagrees with the findings and the imposed penalty. The FCCPC aims to ensure fair treatment of Nigerian users and compliance with local regulations.

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FG Slashes Allowances Of Stranded Nigerians On Scholarship In Russia The Federal Gov

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The Federal Government has announced a slash in allowances of foreign scholars who are currently studying in Moscow, Russia.

This is contained in a letter dated July 23, 2024, issued to the scholars’ association in country by the Federal Scholarship Board under the Federal Ministry of Education.

The students are studying under the Federal Government’s Bilateral Educational Agreement Scholarship, which is for the purpose of education exchange between Nigeria and the other countries.

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The letter, which was signed by the Director of the Federal Scholarship Board, Ndajiwo H.A., on behalf of the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman reads, “A: FG slashes allowances of Nigerian foreign scholars over hardship”

According to the letter, the monthly allowances were slashed from $500 to $220; the graduation allowance from $2500 to $2000; and the PG research allowance was slashed from $1,000 to $500.

The total for the payments initially paid was $5,650 per student but will now be $4,370 but allowance for health insurance, pilot allowance and Medical allowance remains $200, $700 and $500 as before.

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The letter reads: “The Scholars’ Association is hereby notified that due to the prevailing economic situation, the payment mandate for the BEA scholars’ allowances will be as per the new adjustment.”

“The balances for the years 2023 and 2024 owed to scholars will be paid as soon as the funds are made available,” the letter reads.

Meanwhile, reports has it that the scholars have not been paid for close to eight months and have endured financial strain due to the delay in receiving their stipends.

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BREAKING: SGF, NSA, Ministers In Emergency Meeting Over Planned Nationwide Protest

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, George Akume, is currently meeting with ministers over the planned nationwide protest against economic hardship.

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The meeting, which is taking place behind closed doors, has all the over 40 ministers in President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet in attendance.

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Some of the Ministers spotted are Nyesom Wike (FCT), Yusuf Tuggar (Foreign Affairs), Zephaniah Jisalo (Special Duties), Tahir Mamman (Education), and Abubakar Bagudu (Budget and Planning).

Others are Wale Edun (Finance), Mohammed Idris (Information), Bello Matawalle (Defence), David Umahi (Works), and the National Security Adviser (NSA) Nuhu Ribadu, amongst others.

Recall that the President had earlier on Tuesday pleaded with Nigerians to shelve the #EndBadGovernance protest slated to commence on August 1.

The protest against economic hardship, organized by faceless persons, has gained traction on social media and is scheduled to hold across the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

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Details shorly…

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