Presidential Debate Drinking Game

ATTENTION READERS: Click here for the 2012 edition!

CAPTION:  Why so serious?

C’mon, dudes.  Perk up.  It’s not like the economy is in shambles, Americans can’t afford health care, we’re in the midst of a global energy crisis, and we’re stuck in a never-ending military operation in the Middle East with no clear exit strategy…oh, wait, yeah….it is, we can’t, we are, and oh shit.

Well, it’s time to wake the kids, call the neighbors, turn up granny’s hearing aid, put out the party favors, and have yourself an old-fashioned Debate Party — despite the fact that someone wanted to postpone the first one. 

With all the “is it on or not?” debate about the first debate, I decided to forge ahead as planned with the hope that there would be no delay.  Regardless of when the debate(s) actually happen, you’ll need a drinking game to survive all the political double-speak and subterfuge.



DEBATE NUMBER ONE:  Friday, September 26, 2008

MODERATOR:  Jim Lehrer from The NewsHour on PBS

FOCUS:  Foreign Policy

LOCATION:  Old Miss in Oxford, Mississippi

DEBATE NUMBER TWO:  Tuesday, October 7, 2008

MODERATOR:  Tom Brokaw from NBC News

FOCUS:  Town Hall Style Meeting

LOCATION:  Belmont University in Nashville, TN

DEBATE NUMBER THREE:  Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MODERATOR:  Bob Schieffer from CBS News

FOCUS:  Domestic Policy and the Economy

LOCATION:  Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY


For all you partygoers, here’s your Drinking Game Initiative:



-When the buzzwords “change” or “maverick” or “hope” are used

-Whenever either one says “fundamental” or “fundamental difference” — added by popular demand through my highly scientific comment form on 10/7/08

-When someone says “I voted for or against” or “He voted for or against”

-When McCain refers to Obama’s “inexperience”

-When McCain stammers and looks like he might have a heart attack

-When McCain somehow works in his personal story as a POW during Vietnam

-When McCain refers to the moderator as “my friend” or the audience as “my friends”

-When Obama somehow works in his personal story of being raised by a single mom and his grandparents

-When Obama makes a smirk, shakes his head, and says, “Look…” as a preface to a statement or follow-up — amended by popular demand to “Look” on 10/8/08

-When Obama makes the case that McCain and Bush are one and the same or uses the phrase “more of the same”

-When Obama says “John McCain is right on this, but…”  — added through high-end analysis of reader feedback on 10/8/08

-When anyone brings up “suspending the campaign” — only topical for debate one, and I don’t recall it coming up

-When either one lays claims to being “bipartisan” or working “across the aisle”

-It’s a Social when Sarah Palin is mentioned!

-Finish whatever you are drinking if McCain loses his temper!



-When someone mentions the “Bailout” of Wall Street

-When someone mentions Wall Street and Main Street in the same train of thought

-When someone starts quoting dollar figures (for example: 700 billion)

-When someone talks about mortgages/foreclosures/homeowners



-If anyone uses the words “surge” or “victory”

-When anyone mentions a particular nation as being a potential “nuclear” threat

-When McCain talks about Islamic Radicals/Terrorists

-When Georgia and/or Russia are mentioned

-When Iran and/or Iraq are mentioned

-When Afghanistan is mentioned

-It’s a social for al Qaeda or North Korea!

-Finish whatever you are drinking if anyone delivers specifics on how to get out of Iraq “safely and responsibly”.


The Surgeon General strongly recommends heavy drinking up until November 2nd.  After that, you better sober up and VOTE on November 4th.


Written by David H. Schleicher


  1. Are you trying to kill peope by alcohol poisoning?? LOL! Everyone who does this would be drunk in 10 minutes! Maybe 5 minutes! But excellent idea! I better stock up on the alchy!

  2. My additions:

    * McCain says “Warshington”
    * Obama says “um”
    * Obama starts a sentence with “Look” (double if it’s “uh-uh-uh, look.”)
    * Anyone says “the American people”

  3. How about if we do it the other way around?

    How about a shot everytime someone mentions a policy position of substance?

    Then we won’t need to stock up on much alcohol….

  4. Wow, what a way to get the night started (and ended) early, I don’t know a single person who will still be alive by the end of the debate given these rules!
    Awesome sauce!
    and yes.. sober up before Nov 4th, and VOTE!

  5. I think everyone has the same idea. I figured if I took a shot every time McCain mentioned his POW experiences, I’d pass out within a half hour. Actually sooner since I don’t really drink. But I might start soon…

  6. I think we are missing one – drink whenever a candidate uses a specific person narrative, such as “I met Ben Dover of Surprise, Arizona who told me he can’t afford his Herpes medication because he doesn’t have insurance…”

  7. I was about to mention how lethal this game could be until I read all of the other replies – I’ll spare you!

    A creative and humorous blog, keep it up! It made me snicker out loud. Thanks for putting a fun spin on some very serious issues, I think I personally needed that.

  8. Yeah…I’m a lightweight–I’ll go with the beer suggestion–because I think your list’s summed up about 80% of the debate text.

    Either that or pills—God only knows how we’ll survive the next few weeks….


  9. Ok, as a follow-up comment — we decided to use your rules. And we are completely smashed and it is only 9:00. Yeah. Wow.

  10. Man, at the debate, that cat and mouse are going to be going at it like… like…

    … a cat … and a mouse… ?

    What a pointless allegory. 😦

  11. Well we played our own version of the game but it was basically similar to yours just simpler.

    We took a shot everytime McCain Invoked Ronald Reagan
    Everytime McCain brought up his Vietnam experience, and Sarah Palin. But what got us wasted was the world surge.


    It reminded me of Bush’s debate in 2004 where he would say 9/11 everytime it came back to him.

  12. This was a hilarious post – too bad I caught it after the debate was over. Or maybe it’s a good thing, for my liver!

    You forgot to add take a drink every time that creepy, inhuman smile stretches across McCain’s face – that look makes my blood run cold!

  13. LOL if I’d have been playing with anything stronger than Mountain Dew, I’d be dead already. As it is, the debate’s been over for some time now and I’ve still got a wicked sugar-buzz.

  14. I TRIED YOU DRINKING GAME TONIGHT. ITS too fgin harsh dude. seiously. numerical amounts….. i wam DESTROEDY really. ddue. scale it back a litle bit, i only made it to the sedon hour.

    include a fukg sergions generals warning or somthing man my friend almost died hahahahahahahahahaha

  15. omg, thinkin you have now invented ‘debate diabetes’. how about sobering up by watching the replay and only drinkin when somebody doesn’t talk ish?

  16. Daf,

    We done good!! Where’s my shout out?

    Love, Spanky

    Hey, Spanks, here’s your shout out. Thanks for always helping come up with the rules for these drinking games. I’m so glad I have a friend who is a lush like you!

    Also, thanks to all those for posting suggestions. Who could’ve predicted “fundamental” would be used so much? Cheers!


  17. What happened America?

    It is hilarious and sometimes just fascinating to watch politicians screw up! You have McCain and Obama going at each other everyday on CNN, while BUSH is just to eager to finish-up and get out of there alltogether.

    CLICK HERE to continue reading at CHASE MORGAN’S BLOG

    Chase, thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion. I hope you don’t mind I am directing people to your blog to read your full comments since they are cut and pasted from actual posts you make on your own blog. I’m trying to keep a light and humorous spin on these very serious topics as a way for people to blow off steam and relax. I invite my readers to visit your blog to discuss these things more seriously and get a better view of your take on things. –DHS

  18. Maybe you don’t remember the rules of the drinking game. You just have to be the last one standing. You don’t have to finish the debate.

  19. So, we’re hitting the second one tonight, with the “town hall format”–should we make any modifications, Dave? The presence of the folksy folks should at least be entertaining, if not alcohol-worthy.
    This time, though, I’m sticking to V8 Fusion. Less chance of a hangover. Slightly.

    AmyleaC, I don’t know how this town-hall thing is going to work…so I’m sticking with the regular rules. The interactions with the crowd are too unpredictable, but I can bet there will be lotsa folksy banter from McCain, and a lot of “sharing” from Obama. –DHS

  20. If you were waiting for “Maverick” I don’t think you even broke the seal.

    If you were looking for “My friend”
    you never even heard the second question.

    Wily, I think Palin killed the “maverick” catch phrase in the VP debate. I doubt McCain will use it much any more….but “my friends” is still his fave it seems. –DHS

  21. How about a drink for each time Obama says McCain is right about something? I lost count at 14 in the first debate, and there were some at the second one too.

    Ann, so true! Nice call. I will add this to the rules! –DHS

  22. This is one thing I love about presidential debates.

    Drinking games are big this year.

    But by your rules?

    We all would have been plastered within five minutes.

    “Sorry, I’ve got a major presidential debate hangover…”

  23. Oh this is such a great idea. I’ll have to tell my friends about it. We’ll be smashed in no time at all… 🙂

  24. The buzzword to drink is “look”…Obama uses it SOOOOO much, that wondering if you will get drunk is not a question–it is a FACT! Loook loooook loooook….

    Janeen, look here, you are so right about this one! So look, I’m gonna add this to the rules. Look up at the post and you will see! –DHS

  25. Oh I must say this is amusing. This will have to be implemented for the last one. Thank you very much!

  26. My local news ran a story before the debate about some BYU students who will be using root beer instead of alcohol for their little drinking game. Cant get sauced on it, but because it is a dry campus and an LDS college, there are certain provisions that forbid alcohol. besides, the belching after the drink tastes better and it doesn’t burn coming up!!!

  27. Okay well I for see a trip to the ER after we finish playing but what the hell that never stopped us before!!!

  28. if u r watching 2nites debate, Joe the plumber will b getn a lot of business bcause his name has been mentioned @least 20-30 times. if the drinking game still apply-i’ll have 2 margaritas & drink 2 that.

  29. Whew! Good thing I saw this after the debates. Even a Russian immigrant would be dead after such a game.

    I like my liver. It’s been working for me quite well for a long time.

  30. Cheerio! It’s also time for a real good and long lasting drinking-game over here in Good Old Germany! The funny bottle of Frankenwein I’ve opened not so long ago is nearly empty… Well, let’s take a last sip…

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