September 26th 1960: First Televised Debate


On this day in 1960 the first televised debate took place in Chicago between US presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John F Kennedy. The debate drew an audience of 66 million viewers and is one of the most widely watched broadcasts in US history. The debate arguably determined the outcome of the election, and signified a shift to more image-centred politics.

Let the best looking man win

Radio listeners thought the Republican Nixon had won the debate. However television viewers believed it to be the young, attractive Democrat Kennedy, rather than the sweaty and uncomfortable Nixon. Kennedy went on to win the 1960 election and televised debates are now a central part of presidential campaigns.

I should not have eaten those spicy hot wings before coming out here.

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