There you go again

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President Jimmy Carter (left) and former Governor Ronald Reagan (right) at the presidential debate October 28, 1980. Reagan most memorably deployed the phrase "there you go again."

"There you go again" was a phrase spoken during the 1980 United States presidential election debate by Republican presidential candidate Governor Ronald Reagan to his Democratic opponent, incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Reagan would use the line in a few debates over the years, always in a way intended to disarm his opponent.[1]

"There you go again" emerged as a single defining phrase of the 1980 presidential election.[2] The phrase has endured in the political lexicon in news headlines, as a way to quickly refer to various presidential candidates' bringing certain issues up repeatedly during debates, or to Reagan himself.[3]


The one debate between Reagan and Carter of the 1980 presidential year was held a week before the election by the League of Women Voters. As Carter went on the offensive against Reagan's record regarding Medicare, Reagan replied with "There you go again."[4][5] In 1984, Reagan's opponent Walter Mondale came prepared with a reply in case Reagan used the line again, which he did.[6] However, Reagan disarmed Mondale with another line, in which he took the issue of his own age off the table by saying he wouldn't hold Mondale's "youth and inexperience" against him.

An Associated Press article from 2008 stated:

"Reagan was a master at capturing a debate moment that everyone will remember. His 'there you go again' line defused his opponent's attack."[7]

Later use[edit]

Reagan would sometimes use the phrase during his presidential press conferences.[8]

During the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Senate Primary Debate, Incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman used the line a number of times against his primary challenger Ned Lamont. During the 2008 vice-presidential debate, Republican vice-presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, used the line on Democratic opponent Joe Biden.[7] Both Lieberman and Palin lost those races; however, Lieberman went on to defeat Lamont in the general election running as an Independent.

During the 2012 Presidential Election, former President Bill Clinton paraphrased the line after criticizing the policies of the Republican platform by saying 'There they go again'.[9]

During the 2016 Vice Presidential debates, Republican Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence used the line "There they go again" in responding to Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine's statement that Pence was a “chief cheerleader for the privatization of social security.”[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Raasch, Chuck (2004-06-05). "Former President Ronald Reagan dies at 93". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  2. ^ "Other stars emerge other than those on the presidential ticket". Gannett News Service. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  3. ^ "There You Go Again". The Washington Post. 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  4. ^ Mears, Walter R. (2008-10-10). "ON DEADLINE: Myth of last-chance debate dies hard". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  5. ^ "AllPolitics - 1980 Debates Overview". CNN. Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  6. ^ Clarity, James F.; Warren Weaver Jr. (1984-10-10). "BRIEFING; 'There You Go Again'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  7. ^ a b Bauder, David (2008-10-08). "So far, debates lack the memorable lines of past". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  8. ^ Rouse, Robert (March 15, 2006). "Happy Anniversary to the first scheduled presidential press conference - 93 years young!". American Chronicle. 
  9. ^ Espo, David. "Journalist". MPR News. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  10. ^

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