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On this day in history, Sept. 26, 1960, Kennedy and Nixon battle in first televised presidential debate


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American political and broadcast historical past unfolded on today in historical past, Sept. 26, 1960, as Vice President Richard Nixon, a California Republican, and Sen. John F. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, debated on tv earlier than a nationwide viewers. 

The nation’s first-ever televised presidential debate was held in Chicago and broadcast on CBS. The candidates squared off on tv three extra instances that 12 months earlier than the election of Nov. 8, 1960. 

The occasions “shifted how presidential campaigns have been carried out, as the ability of tv took elections into American’s residing rooms,” the Nationwide Structure Middle factors out. 

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“The controversy [on Sept. 26, 1960] was watched dwell by 70 million People and it made politics an digital spectator sport,” the identical supply mentioned. 

“It additionally gave many potential voters their first likelihood to see precise presidential candidates in a dwell atmosphere, as potential leaders.”

The controversy pitted two titans of American politics. 

Tv display picture of the presidential debates between Vice President Richard M. Nixon (left) and Sen. John F. Kennedy because the latter makes a degree.
(Getty Photographs)

Nixon was one of the vital well-liked politicians in U.S. historical past earlier than his presidency and repute have been toppled by the Watergate scandal in 1974. 

He was Dwight Eisenhower’s operating mate when the GOP simply defeated Democrat challengers within the 1952 and 1956 elections (successful 80 of 96 potential states). 

Nixon loved his personal landslide victories atop the ticket in 1968 and in 1972 (81 of 100 states).

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JFK was a World Struggle II hero and probably the most charismatic determine of the burgeoning Kennedy political dynasty. 

He proved Nixon’s most formidable foe, handing the vp his solely main nationwide election defeat within the 1960 presidential election.

Kennedy captured 49.7% of the favored vote in comparison with 49.6% for Nixon.

The margin of victory was shockingly slim. 

Kennedy captured 49.7% of the favored vote to 49.6% for Nixon. 

The Republican carried extra states, 26 of 48 — however Kennedy received the all-important electoral vote, 303-219.  

Sen. John F. Kennedy (left), Don Hewitt of CBS News (center) and Vice President Richard M. Nixon (right) at the first televised presidential debate on Sept. 26, 1960. 

Sen. John F. Kennedy (left), Don Hewitt of CBS Information (heart) and Vice President Richard M. Nixon (proper) on the first televised presidential debate on Sept. 26, 1960. 
(Picture by CBS Picture Archive/Getty Photographs)

Tv could have proved the deciding think about Kennedy’s win, in keeping with many political pundits. 

Kennedy’s brilliant and prepared smile shined on black and white TV — and viewers thought he usually appeared extra comfortable. 

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Nixon had suffered a knee damage on the marketing campaign path in August, which turned contaminated and put him within the hospital.  

He “emerged two weeks later frail, sallow and 20 kilos underweight,” experiences Historical past.com. 

A televised picture, broadcast in May 1977, of American presidential candidates John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) and Richard Nixon (1913-1994) at a Chicago television studio for their debate on Sept. 26, 1960. The live broadcast was the first televised debate of two U.S. presidential candidates. 

A televised image, broadcast in Might 1977, of American presidential candidates John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) and Richard Nixon (1913-1994) at a Chicago tv studio for his or her debate on Sept. 26, 1960. The dwell broadcast was the primary televised debate of two U.S. presidential candidates. 
(Picture by Ernst Haas/Hulton Archive/Getty Photographs)

He additionally was struggling the flu simply earlier than the controversy, had reinjured his knee on the best way into the studio and refused to put on TV make-up. 

Nixon dabbed sweat from his forehead through the broadcast. 

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The impact was dramatic: The vp seemed sickly and frail, whereas the senator appeared vibrant and wholesome.

“Every held forth skillfully and introduced remarkably related agendas,” writes Historical past.com. 

Vice President Nixon seemed sickly and frail; Sen. Kennedy seemed vibrant and wholesome.

“Whereas most radio listeners known as the primary debate a draw or pronounced Nixon the victor, the senator from Massachusetts received over the 70 million tv viewers by a broad margin,” the identical supply notes.

There have been no televised presidential-candidate debates in 1964, 1968 or 1972.

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President Lyndon B. Johnson refused to debate in 1964 (he received that election over GOP nominee Barry Goldwater) — whereas Nixon additionally declined to debate in each the 1968 and 1972 elections, in keeping with Historical past.com

The debates did not begin up once more till 1976, when then-President Gerald Ford agreed to debate Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter. 

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