FIRST DEBATE WAS GAME CHANGER
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.