JFK VS. NIXON IN 1960: WHY THAT POLITICAL CAMPAIGN WAS “THRILLING”

In the year 1960 on September 26, a debate or political campaign that changed the political perception in whole world was held between vice president Richard M. Nixon and a senator John F. Kennedy. This debate was the first televised presidential debate. In this powerful debate between Nixon and Kennedy, the TV played an important role and people were able to view elections from their living rooms. Around 70 million people in the country watched the debate live on their TVs. This live event also offered a chance for common people in America to see the real presidential candidates as their possible leaders.

Nixon was the favourite candidate of people who was expected to win the election as he was the vice president for eight years. He introduced his art of speech on Television on his Checkers speech in 1952 where he addressed to show up slush-fund allegations on TV and protected his position of Vice Presidential by talking about his pet dog Checkers. Kennedy was the vigorous young senator from Massachusetts who ran a planned initial campaign to beat his rival, Senator Lyndon Johnson.

The debate happened in Chicago and CBS assigned Don Hewitt, a 38 year old producer to handle the event. Hewitt invited both the candidates for a pre-production meeting but only Kennedy accepted it. When Nixon came for the event he seemed ill due to the knee problem. He also re-injured his knee while entering in TV station. However, he decided to go ahead with the debate.

As a result, Kennedy was looking energetic and prepared on TV, while Nixon seemed tired. Before the debate started, Nixon was leading by six percent votes in polls. However the outcome next day was that Kennedy defeated the vice president with narrowest margins in history.