Ted Stevens (1923-2010)

Video: 1996 debate, Stevens v. Obermeyer

When a political career spans more than 50 years, as former Sen. Ted Stevens' did, there are bound to be video highlights. The following clip, uploaded to YouTube by RanchoSpenardo, shows a particularly memorable part of a televised 1996 Senate debate between incumbent Sen. Stevens and his Democratic challenger, Theresa Obermeyer. (Sorry to remind you about that campaign, Alaska Democrats.) During the candidate-question segment, Obermeyer asks about the senator's health and ability to survive another term, and then confronts him about an incident in which he said in front of a large group of people that she was "stalking" him. Stevens' answer addresses the health concerns and segues (intentionally?) into a policy statement supporting research against diseases of the brain, but lets the stalking thing slide. Obermeyer calls him on his dodge and presses him to answer. What Stevens says next -- with poise and sincerity -- has become, it is safe to say, legendary.