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Jun 13, 2015 11:06 AM

5 candidates and a rat: the 1972 Democratic debate

The Associated Press

CONCORD — Media organizations are scrambling to set the rules for debates involving an unusually large class of Republican candidates, but Ned Coll remembers when five men and a rubber rat was enough to cause a stir.

In 1972, Coll, of Connecticut, brandished the rat during a debate at the University of New Hampshire that included Democratic Sen. Edmund Muskie, eventual nominee Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota, Indiana Sen. Vance Harke and Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty. They sat on red chairs borrowed from a nearby hotel bar.

Media accounts depicted the 90-minute debate as dull and derided the inclusion of longshot candidates, including Coll's use of the rat to underscore the problem of poverty.

For this cycle's first two scheduled debates, Fox News and CNN are limiting the number of debaters.


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