An Insider’s Take on the 1960 Nixon Kennedy Debate | WBEZ
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Eight Forty-Eight

An Insider's Take on the 1960 Nixon Kennedy Debate

This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of America's first televised presidential debate. Prior to 1960, no presidential candidates from opposing parties had ever met to debate. But when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon met up in the WBBM studios here in Chicago, it was an incredibly powerful forum. In fact, some argue that the contrast between the candidates was decisive in the election's outcome. Nixon appeared stiff and had a noticeable five o'clock shadow while Kennedy appeared cool and calm. To get a better sense of the importance of this event, and how it came together we turn now to Newton Minow. Minow was appointed chair of the Federal Communications Commission by President Kennedy. And, as one of the negotiators of the 1960 presidential debates, he brings a behind-the-scenes perspective to this history.

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Music Button:  Unknown Artist, "Alley Swingers", from the Box Set 60's Capitol Production Music, (Capitol)

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