Michael Dukakis Kitty Raped and Murdered, Michael Stanley Dukakis (born November 3, 1933) served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts from 1975 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1991. He is the longest serving Governor in Massachusetts history and only the second Greek American Governor in U.S. history, after Spiro Agnew. In 1988, he was the Democratic nominee for President, but lost to Republican then-Vice President, George H. W. Bush.
The issue of capital punishment came up in the October 13, 1988, debate between the two presidential nominees. Because she knew the Willie Horton issue would be brought up, Dukakis’s campaign manager, Susan Estrich, had prepared with Michael Dukakis an answer highlighting the candidate’s empathy for victims of crime, noting the beating of his father in a robbery and the death of his brother in a hit-and-run car accident. However, when Bernard Shaw, the moderator of the debate, asked Dukakis, “Governor, if Kitty Dukakis [his wife] were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” Dukakis replied, “No, I don’t, and I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life”, and explained his stance. After the debate.
Many observers felt Dukakis’s answer lacked the passion one would expect of a person discussing a loved one’s rape and death. Many- including Dukakis himself- believe this in part, cost him the election, as his poll numbers dropped from 49% to 42% nationally that night. Other commentators thought the question itself was unfair, in that it injected an irrelevant emotional element into the discussion of a policy issue and forced the candidate to make a difficult choice.