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

73 comments on “Presidential Debate Drinking Game

  1. Joanne says:

    HA! HA! HA! This was so good I had to separate my HA’s.

  2. Blau says:

    Yes! Thanks

  3. Bender says:

    Dear sweet jesus. This drinking game would kill a mortal man. Thank god I’m a robot.

    But seriously, good game!

  4. Cynthia says:

    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!

  5. afrankangle says:

    What a hoot! Heck, one could get smashed by just using the first two rules.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  6. Average Jane says:

    Really – if we’re taking full shots, we’re going to be dead (like — alcohol poisoning style “dead”) by, like, the second question.

  7. Lurple says:

    I like to drink, but you need to change it from “shot” to “sip”. Or “drink”. Otherwise we’ll all die. 😉

  8. Alex C says:

    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”

  9. Tiffany says:

    I’ll be taking shots of— beer.

  10. Patrick says:

    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….

  11. Sandra says:

    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!

  12. Vladimir Putin says:

    Too late. I started drinking when I saw the Palin/Couric interviews and haven’t been able to stop!

  13. Rachel C says:

    This is very, very good stuff. Thank you for creating a bipartisan drinking game! =)

  14. Mary says:

    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…

  15. Christina says:

    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…”

  16. theforestsentinel says:

    I wouldn’t last 5 minutes.

  17. fabakis says:

    That’s Fantastic.

  18. Ricardo says:

    Sorry, I can’t drink that much any more. I’ll just stick to a shot when I hear 9-11.

  19. Great game. Of course, with the world as it stands now, just listening to those guys talk would drive me to drinking, game or no game.

  20. garethaidan says:

    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.

  21. brainspank says:

    Excellent. I’m a big drinker so this works.

  22. Christy says:

    It’s the specific mention of dollar amounts that is making me run out of beer fast!

  23. theladymel says:

    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….


  24. Nick says:

    I am trying this and within 10 minutes we are drunk

  25. joyjoy says:

    watching it now, i think “fundamental” should have been one. we’d all be passed out.

  26. Christina says:

    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.

  27. Rebel Without a Sauce says:

    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. 😦

  28. Liz says:

    You should definitely add “fundamental” to your list.

  29. simplyelo says:

    this is a very ingenious drinking game! Ha!

  30. laurie says:

    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.

  31. I think I have alcohol poisoning.

  32. ccallicotte says:

    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!

  33. Midgetqueen says:

    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.

  34. mrfinspakrle says:

    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

  35. Bryan says:

    These guys are both pathetic. I think we’ll all need to buy our alcohol by the case regardless of who wins.

  36. em says:

    ………….i think if anyone really drank for all of these rules theyd be dead or dying right now….

    hope everyone is okay.

  37. Scott Thong says:

    My spleen is already on life support from getting drunk and voting McCain.

    Or was that last year? *hic*

  38. Chase Morgan says:

    Well the BIG DEBATE is over and what a laugh!

    Are we really living in a society of responsiblity and serious issues facing our economy or what? Well we all know that politics is a dirty game and we also know that the objectives on the campaign trail is to outwit or at least out perform our competitors…

    CLICK HERE to conitinue reading at CHASE MORGAN’S BLOG

  39. Jess says:

    take a shot everytime obama says “let’s be clear”

  40. Wii says:

    They are both idiots tbh.

  41. Anonymous says:

    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?

  42. Susancarrie says:

    Gotta get in some sort of elbow bend for using that most common word… fundamentally

  43. Sultana says:

    Wow! No wonder there was a DUI checkpoint next to my house right after the debate.

  44. Funkmaster Seek says:

    During last nights debate, I tried taking a shot every time McCain said “Senator Obama simply doesn’t understand” and I can no longer feel my legs. =]

  45. You forgot the rule for taking a shot when Obama says “the notion that”

  46. Spanky says:


    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!


  47. Chase Morgan says:

    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

  48. sarge says:

    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.

  49. ButOneMike says:

    We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

  50. AmyleaC says:

    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

  51. Lasmith says:

    My addition: Anytime the word “fundamental” is used….

  52. Wily Trax says:

    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

  53. izaclick says:

    I love Obama, but Mccain has a lot experience

  54. “Taking a shot” particularly appropriate for the foreign policy keywords!

    Good work! Light-hearted approach to the credit crunch (with a vague food theme) at – you have to have a laugh these days…

  55. Ann says:

    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

  56. whythulc says:

    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…”

  57. ladyava says:

    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… 🙂

  58. Janeen says:

    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

  59. flipside1203 says:

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

  60. Damn I didnt remember to do this!!!

    Oh well…I got one more shot…maybe this one will be the best one considering how desperate McCain will be…

  61. raynmakr says:

    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!!!

  62. Lil' Miss Rachel says:

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

  63. Francois says:

    With one shot for nuclear… the whole drinking receptacle if someone says nue-kue-ler.

  64. jazzy says:

    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.

  65. pj says:


  66. watchdoit says:

    Hey if your guys are looking for another great drinking game, check out this this link:

  67. gfish says:

    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.

  68. startedliving says:

    There’s a whole lot of people out there with BAAAAAD hangovers, today.

  69. freidenkerin says:

    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…

  70. godkingtimmy says:

    I’m still working off the buzz from the first debate. Word.

  71. Survey! says:

    Hey I need to have a statistical evaluation on the candidates and their policies of education. Take this survey!

  72. Black Hat Techniques says:

    I sure wished I hadn’t missed out on this game!

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