Calvin Coolidge and Franklin D. Roosevelt were both President (separated by Herbert Hoover). They never ran against each other. Until now. Yes, this is their first ever debate. I will ask the questions.
Will: Mr. Coolidge, you are known as Silent Cal. Is that because you are frugal with words?
CC: "I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm... Don't you know that four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear if we would just sit down and keep still?"
FDR: I agree. My motto as a speaker is: “Be sincere; be brief; be seated.”
Will: Sounds like good advice for any candidate. Mr. Roosevelt, what is your opinion of the 2010 Health Care law?
FDR: “Are you laboring under the impression that I read these? I can't even lift them.”
CC: "It is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones."
Will: Our economy is not so great today. How would you improve it?
CC: "I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people... Civilization and profits go hand in hand.... The business of America is business."
FDR: “I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a New Deal for the American people. While they (talk) of economic laws, men and women are starving. Economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings. Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.”
Will: What about the national debt? To reduce trillion dollar deficits, do you favor more taxes on the wealthy?
CC: "Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong... Wealth comes from industry and from the hard experience of human toil. To dissipate it in waste and extravagance is disloyalty to humanity... There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means."
FDR: “Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay... Over ninety percent of all national deficits from 1921 to 1939 were caused by payments for past, present, and future wars...The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”
Will: What is the proper role of religion in America? In our government?
FDR: “I am a Christian and a Democrat, that's all. Whoever seeks to set one religion against another seeks to destroy all religion... Physical strength can never permanently withstand the impact of spiritual force. ”
CC: "Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberality, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government... It is hard to see how a great man can be an atheist. Without the sustaining influence of faith in a divine power we could have little faith in ourselves. ”
Will: Closing comments?
FDR: “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
CC: "I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves.”
(Note: the “quotes” are authentic.)