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Briefing and Opinion
October 1, 2004

1960 Kennedy and Nixon
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The September 1960 debate between Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Vice President Richard Nixon was the first to be televised. Called the Great Debate, it had a considerable influence on the presidential elections and powerfully illustrated the importance of a candidate's image and style.
Date City
September 26, 1960 Chicago, IL
October 7, 1960 Washington, D.C.
October 13, 1960 Nixon in Los Angeles and Kennedy in New York
October 21, 1960 New York, NY

Nixon DATE: October 7, 1960

NIXON: "To combat unemployment we first must concentrate on the very areas to which you refer -- the so-called depressed areas. Now in the last Congress -- the special session of the Congress -- there was a bill: one by the President, one by Senator Kennedy and members of his party. Now the bill that the President had submitted would have provided more aid for those areas that really need it -- areas like Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and the areas of West Virginia -- than the ones that Senator Kennedy was supporting."

KENNEDY: "Well Mr. Nixon has stated the record inaccurately in regard to the depressed area bill. I'm very familiar with it. It came out of the committee of which I was the chairman -- the labor subcommittee -- in fifty-five. I was the floor manager. Let me make it very clear that the bill that Mr. Nixon talked about did not mention Wilkes-Barre or Scranton; it did not mention West Virginia. Our bill was far more effective."

Commission on Presidential Debates

Transcript of the October 7, 1960 - The Second Kennedy-Nixon Presidential Debate

Televised Debate History 1960-2000

VIDEO EXCERPTS: Presidential Debate, September 30, 2004

Source: Commission on Presidential Debates, ABCNews