1960 Presidential Race Marked beginning of Television as Premier Political Medium

Guest Columnist

The 1960 Presidential Race between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy is considered by many political historians to be a landmark presidential contest. This race for the White House, exactly 60 years ago, marked a pivotal change in presidential election politics when the advent of television became the premier medium for political candidates.  
John Kennedy was a 42-year-old, charismatic, democratic senator from Massachusetts.  Richard Nixon was a veteran politico who was vice president under the popular war hero, President General Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower.
The presidential debate between Democrat Kennedy and Republican Nixon was to be televised nationwide.  This was the first televised presidential debate.  Television was a new phenomenon.


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