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1960 United States presidential debates

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1960 United States presidential debates

1976 →
 
First 1960 presidential debate.jpg

The 1960 United States presidential debates were a series of debates held for the 1960 United States presidential election. Democratic nominee John F. Kennedy and Republican nominee Richard Nixon met the criteria for inclusion in the debates. Four Presidential debates were conducted for Presidential candidates, which was the first series of debates conducted for any presidential election. (The Lincoln–Douglas debates of 1858 had been the first for senators from Illinois). The next presidential debate would not occur until 1976, after which debates would become a regular feature of all presidential campaigns.

The debates turned out to be the turning point of the campaign, as it was the first held on television, and thus attracted enormous publicity. Polls revealed that more than half of all voters had been influenced by the debates, while 6 percent claimed that the debates alone had decided their choice.[1] It is widely believed that those who listened to the debate on radio thought that Nixon had won, while those who watched the debate on television thought that Kennedy had won. [2]

Debate schedule

1960 United States presidential election debates
No. Date and time Host and location Panelist Moderator Participants Viewership (Millions)
Key:
 P  Participant.
Democratic Republican
Senator
John F. Kennedy
of Massachusetts
Vice President
Richard Nixon
of California
1 Monday, September 26, 1960

9:30-10:30 p.m. E.T.

WBBM-TV

Chicago, Illinois

Sander Vanocur

Charles Warren

Stuart Novins

Howard K. Smith P P 66.4[3]
2 Friday, October 7, 1960

7:30-8:30 p.m. E.T.

WRC-TV

Washington, D.C.

Paul Niven

Edward P. Morgan

Alan Spivak

Harold R. Levy

Frank McGee P P 61.9[3]
3 Thursday, October 13, 1960

7:30-8:30 p.m. E.T.

ABC Studios

New York City, New York

(Kennedy)

Frank McGee

Charles Van Fremd

Douglass Cater

Roscoe Drummond

Bill Shadel P P 63.7[3]
ABC Studios

Los Angeles, California

(Nixon)

4 Friday, October 21, 1960

10:00-11:00 p.m. E.T.

ABC Studios

New York City, New York

Frank Singiser

John Edwards

Walter Cronkite

John Chancellor

Quincy Howe P P 60.4[3]

September 26: First presidential debate (WBBM-TV, Chicago)

First Presidential debate
Date(s)September 26, 1960 (1960-09-26)
Duration60 minutes
VenueWBBM-TV
LocationChicago, Illinois
ParticipantsJohn F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Moderator(s)Howard K. Smith
Full broadcast of the September 26 debate

The first presidential debate was held at WBBM-TV, Chicago on Monday September 26, 1960 between Vice President Richard Nixon and senator John F. Kennedy. Howard K. Smith moderated the debate with Sander Vanocur, Charles Warren and Stuart Novins as panelists. Questions were restricted to internal or domestic American matters. The format decided was:

  • eight minute opening statements
  • two and a half minute responses to questions
  • optional rebuttal
  • three minute closing statements.

Nixon refused make-up for the first debate, and as a result his facial stubble showed prominently on the black-and-white TV screens at the time. During the debate, Nixon started sweating under the hot studio lights giving way to visible beads of perspiration. He had chosen a light gray suit which faded into the backdrop of the set and seemed to match his ashen skin tone. Reacting to this, his mother immediately called him to and asked whether he was sick. The Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley in a interview said:

My God, they’ve embalmed him before he even died.[4]

Evidence in support of this belief, that Kennedy's physical appearance overshadowed his performance during the first debate is mainly limited to sketchy reports about a market survey conducted by Sindlinger & Company in which 49% of those who listened to the debates on radio said Nixon had won compared to 21% naming Kennedy, while 30% of those who watched the debates on television said Kennedy had won compared to 29% naming Nixon. Contrary to popular belief, the Sindlinger evidence suggests not that Kennedy won on television but that the candidates tied on television while Nixon won on radio. However, no details about the sample have ever been reported, and it is unclear whether the survey results can be generalized to a larger population. Moreover, since 87% of American households had a television in 1960, and that the fraction of Americans lacking access to television in 1960 was concentrated in rural areas and particularly in southern and western states, places that were unlikely to hold significant proportions of Catholic voters.[5]

Transcript

Viewership

An estimated 66.4 million viewers tuned into the debate.

October 7: Second presidential debate (WRC-TV, Washington D.C.)

Second Presidential debate
Kennedy Nixon Debat (1960).jpg
Date(s)October 7, 1960 (1960-10-07)
Duration60 minutes
VenueWRC-TV
LocationWashington D.C.
ParticipantsJohn F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Moderator(s)Frank McGee

The second presidential debate was held at WRC-TV, Washington D.C. on Friday October 7, 1960 between Vice President Richard Nixon and senator John F. Kennedy. Frank McGee moderated the debate with Paul Niven, Edward P. Morgan, Alan Spivak and Harold R. Levy as panelists. Questions were related to internal American matters, foreign relations, economy, etc. The format decided was:

  • No opening or closing statements
  • each questioned in turn with optional rebuttal

After the first debate, for the remaining three debates, Nixon regained his lost weight, wore television makeup, and appeared more forceful than in his initial appearance. Polls showed that Nixon won the second and third debate, but Kennedy moved from a slight deficit into a slight lead over Nixon. [7]

Transcript

Viewership

An estimated 61.9 million viewers tuned into the debate.

October 13: Third presidential debate (ABC Studios, New York City/Los Angeles)

Third Presidential debate
Date(s)October 13, 1960 (1960-10-13)
Duration60 minutes
VenueABC Studio
LocationNew York City, New York and Los Angeles, California
ParticipantsJohn F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Moderator(s)Bill Shadel

The third presidential debate was held virtually at ABC studio, Los Angeles, California for Nixon and ABC studio, New York City, New York for Kennedy on Thursday October 13, 1960 between Vice President Richard Nixon and senator John F. Kennedy. Bill Shadel moderated the debate with Frank McGee, Charles Van Fremd, Douglass Cater and Roscoe Drummond as panelists. The main topic of this debate was whether military force should be used to prevent Quemoy and Matsu, two island archipelagos off the Chinese coast, from falling under Communist control.[9][10] The format decided was:

  • No opening or closing statements
  • each questioned in turn with two and a half minutes to answer
  • one and a half minute rebuttals optional.

The third debate has been notable, as it brought about a change in the debate process. This debate was a monumental step for television. For the first time ever, split-screen technology was used to bring two people from opposite sides of the country together so they were able to converse in real time. Nixon was in Los Angeles while Kennedy was in New York. The men appeared to be in the same room, as a can of paint used for the backdrop in New York was flown overnight to Hollywood to match the background there.[11] Both candidates had monitors in their respective studios containing the feed from the opposite studio so they could respond to questions. Bill Shadel moderated the debate from a different television studio in Los Angeles.[12]

Transcript

Viewership

An estimated 63.7 million viewers tuned into the debate.

October 21: Fourth presidential debate (ABC Studios, New York City)

Fourth Presidential debate
Date(s)October 21, 1960 (1960-10-21)
Duration60 minutes
VenueABC Studio
LocationNew York City, New York
ParticipantsJohn F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Moderator(s)Quincy Howe

The fourth presidential debate was held at ABC studio, New York City on Friday October 21, 1960 between Vice President Richard Nixon and senator John F. Kennedy. Quincy Howe moderated the debate with Frank Singiser, John Edwards, Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor as panelists. Questions were related to Foreign affairs. The format decided was:

  • Eight minute opening statements
  • each questioned in turn with two and a half minutes to answer
  • one and a half minute rebuttal
  • three minute closing statements.

The fourth debate concluded the series of Presidential debates, and was generally seen as the strongest performance of both candidates.

Transcript

Viewership

An estimated 60.4 million viewers tuned into the debate.

References

  1. ^ "The Kennedy-Nixon Debates". HISTORY. September 21, 2010. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Althaus, Scott L. "Encyclopedia of Media and Politics" (PDF). CQ Press. Retrieved 20 Apr 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d "CPD: 1960 Debates". www.debates.org. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  4. ^ "Everything you need to know about presidential debate history". theweek.com. 2012-10-14. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  5. ^ Scott L. Althaus. Todd Schaefer and Tom Birkland (ed.). "Encyclopedia of Media and Politics" (PDF). Washington D.C.: C.Q. Press. p. Kennedy-Nixon debates. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 3, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  6. ^ "CPD: September 26, 1960 Debate Transcript". www.debates.org. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  7. ^ Inc, Gallup (2008-09-24). "Gallup Presidential Election Trial-Heat Trends, 1936-2008". Gallup.com. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  8. ^ "CPD: October 7, 1960 Debate Transcript". www.debates.org. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  9. ^ "October 13, 1960 Debate Transcript". Debates.org. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  10. ^ "Third Kennedy-Nixon Debate". Debates.org. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  11. ^ Shafer, Ronald G. "Trump refused to debate virtually. But Nixon did and got the best of JFK". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  12. ^ "Clipped From The Record". The Record. October 13, 1960. p. 41.
  13. ^ "CPD: October 13, 1960 Debate Transcript". www.debates.org. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
  14. ^ "CPD: October 21, 1960 Debate Transcript". www.debates.org. Retrieved 2021-04-20.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 June 2021, at 20:50
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