Jump to content

9/26/1960 Senator John F. Kennedy debate Vice President Richard M. Nixon


Recommended Posts

NY Times
1960 — Millions of Americans turned on their televisions to watch Senator John F. Kennedy debate Vice President Richard M. Nixon, the first time a presidential debate was televised. It is worth spending some time viewing this video of the entire hourlong debate.

You’ll notice that there is none of today’s pageantry. The two men are sitting in office chairs with a single moderator, Howard K. Smith of CBS, asking questions from a child-size desk placed between them. It’s striking how relaxed Kennedy looks being introduced, his legs crossed, hands folded in his lap. Nixon, on the other hand, appears uncomfortable in his skin, his right hand resting awkwardly on his thigh. Kennedy looks tan and fit; Nixon has a five o’clock shadow. But most striking for me was the tone of the debate. It’s civil, the two discussing policy with none of the snarky got-yous that characterize today’s televised debates. Those frozen smiles that contemporary politicians have as they strive to humiliate their opponent — not there. Kennedy and Nixon discuss ideas. It feels like a well-reasoned college debate, with each trying to win points on policy issues.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • 1686081932
  • Create New...