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Presidential Campaigns Decoded illuminates both the high stakes of a presidential campaign and the gaffes, controversies, and excesses that often influence the outcome. With a view to enabling readers to develop skills essential to political literacy, the book examines crisis points in modern presidential elections from 1952 through 2008. Chronologically organized, the study focuses on five to eight key events pertinent to each election. It provides an original account of the event, such as a debate transcript or news report, as well as a discussion detailing how the issue emerged and why it was important. This unique and engaging approach enables students to experience the actual source material as voters might have. At the same time, it shows them how an expert views the material, facilitating a deeper understanding of the narratives every presidential campaign constructs around its candidates, its party, and its opponents.