Debating the presidency

With the presidential debates on everyone’s mind, we thought you’d enjoy this look back at the first of the four 1960 presidential debates between Sen. John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon, which took place in Chicago on Sept. 26 of that year. These marked the first presidential debates and the first to be televised.They’re often considered a turning point in the 1960 campaign, with the telegenic Kennedy edging out the ill and ill-at-ease Nixon, at least in the first contest. (There were those, particularly those tuning in on radio, however, who thought Nixon was the stronger speaker. )

The third debate was notable for its first-ever use of split-screen technology, so that Kennedy in New York and Nixon in Los Angeles on an identical set appeared to be in the same room.

Key issues included freedom and the enslavement of a portion of the world’s population under communism – proving perhaps the French saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same.


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