First Presidential Debate - Nixon Kennedy

Updated Aug 16, 2020
Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna shared a photo
on Oct 15, 2012 10:32 AM
The first televised United States presidential debate was held in Chicago on September 26th, 1960 between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon. There were a total of four televised debates between these two candidates however the first debate gathered the most attention with upwards of 70 million viewers.

Most Americans believed that Kennedy had won the first presidential debate. Nixon did not prepare well for the televised event. He had campaigned until a few hours before the debate, refused makeup, and was still recovering from a hospital stay, resulting in his appearing ill. In contrast, Kennedy was well rested, prepared and appeared confident and healthy.

While the Kennedy / Nixon presidential debate was the first televised debate, there were previous political debates, most notably the 1858 Senate debates between Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
Date & Place: at CBS WBBM-TV Studio in Chicago, Illinois United States of America


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