WASHINGTON (AP) - They spend hours mastering policy, learning to lean on the podium just so, perfecting the best way to label their opponents as liars without whining.
But presidential candidates and their running mates often find that campaign debates turn on unplanned zingers, gaffes or gestures that speak volumes.
Debate victories and losses often are scored based on the overall impressions that candidates leave with voters.
In the history books, though, small debate moments often end up telling the broader story.
Think of 73-year-old Ronald Reagan's pledge not to exploit his opponent's youth. Or John McCain's dismissive reference to Barack Obama as simply "that one."
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