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Chicago, Illinois (JFK+50) Today, September 26, 2012, is the 52nd anniversary of the 1st televised debate between Senator John F. Kennedy & -Vice-President Richard M. Nixon during the presidential campaign of 1960.

This event proved to be a game changer.  Many say it proved to be the turning point in the campaign which resulted in a narrow victory for the young senator from Massachusetts.


Two years ago, on the 50th anniversary of the 1st debate, Kayla Webley of Time Magazine published an article titled: ‘How the Nixon-Kennedy Debate Changed the World.’

Ms. Webley begins her article with these words:

“On the morning of September 26, 1960, John F. Kennedy was a relatively unknown senator from Massachusetts.  He was young & Catholic….& facing off against an incumbent.  But by the end of the evening, he was a star.”

She goes on to tell us that the 1st debate “fundamentally altered” campaigns as well as television & the political history of the nation.

She quotes Alan Schroeder, professor at Northeastern University:

“It’s one of those unusual points on the timeline of history where you can say things changed very dramatically…in a single night.”

74 million people tuned in to the 1st debate & most believed JFK was the clear winner.

Ms. Webley also quotes Larry Sabato, author of ‘The Kennedy Half-Century’:

“Before the television debates, most Americans didn’t even see the candidates…they read about them (&) saw photos of them.”*


*The 1st debate was televised from CBS Studios in Chicago, Illinois.  It was broadcast live on CBS, ABC & NBC television networks.  Howard K. Smith was the narrator.  Questioners were Stuart Novins, Sander Vanocur & Charles Warren.

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