On This Day, Sept. 26, 1960 – Nixon and Kennedy Square Off on TV

1960 – The first televised debate between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy took place in Chicago, IL.

The Kennedy-Nixon debates not only had a major impact on the election’s outcome, but ushered in a new era in which crafting a public image and taking advantage of media exposure became essential ingredients of a successful political campaign. They also heralded the central role television has continued to play in the democratic process.

Nixon took a major hit in August when a reporter asked President Dwight D. Eisenhower to name some of his vice president’s contributions. Exhausted and irritated after a long press conference, Eisenhower replied, “If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don’t remember.” (While the remark was intended as a self-deprecating reference to the president’s own mental fatigue, the Democrats promptly used it in a television commercial that ended with the statement: “President Eisenhower could not remember, but the voters will remember.”) That same month, Nixon bashed his knee on a car door while campaigning in North Carolina and developed an infection that landed him in the hospital; he emerged two weeks later frail, sallow and 20 pounds underweight.

Despite Nixon’s exhaustion and Kennedy’s preparedness, the Republican and Democrat were more or less evenly matched when it came to substance. Each held forth skillfully and presented remarkably similar agendas. Both emphasized national security, the threat of communism, the need to strengthen the U.S. military and the importance of building a brighter future for America; indeed, after Kennedy’s opening statement, Nixon said, “I subscribe completely to the spirit that Senator Kennedy has expressed tonight.” And yet, while most radio listeners called the first debate a draw or pronounced Nixon the victor, the senator from Massachusetts won over the 70 million television viewers by a broad margin.


1777 – Philadelphia was occupied by British troops during the American Revolutionary War.

1789 – Thomas Jefferson was appointed America’s first Secretary of State. John Jay was appointed the first chief justice of the U.S. Samuel Osgood was appointed the first Postmaster-General. Edmund Jennings Randolph was appointed the first Attorney General.

1908 – Ed Eulbach of the Chicago Cubs became the first baseball player to pitch both games of a doubleheader and win both with shutouts.

1908 – In “The Saturday Evening Post” an ad for the Edison Phonograph appeared.

1914 – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission was established.

1950 – U.N. troops recaptured the South Korean capital of Seoul from the North Koreans during the Korean Conflict.

1955 – The New York Stock Exchange suffered its worst decline since 1929 when the word was released concerning U.S. President Eisenhower’s heart attack.

1962 – “The Beverly Hillbillies” premiered on CBS-TV.

1980 – The Cuban government abruptly closed Mariel Harbor to end the freedom flotilla of Cuban refugees that began the previous April.

1981 – The Boeing 767 made its maiden flight in Everett, WA.

1984 – Britain and China initialed a draft agreement on the future of Hong Kong when the Chinese take over ruling the British Colony.

1985 – Shamu was born at Sea World in Orlando, FL. Shamu was the first killer whale to survive being born in captivity.

1986 – The episode of “Dallas” that had Bobby Ewing returning from the dead was aired.

1986 – William H. Rehnquist became chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court following the retirement of Warren Burger.

1990 – The Motion Picture Association of America announced that it had created a new rating. The new NC17 rating was to keep moviegoers under the age of 17 from seeing certain films.

1991 – Four men and four women began their two-year stay inside the “Biosphere II.” The project was intended to develop technology for future space colonies.

1993 – The eight people who had stayed in “Biosphere II” emerged from their sealed off environment.

1996 – Shannon Lucid returned to Earth after being in space for 188 days. she set a time record for a U.S. astronaut in space and in the world for time spent by a woman in space.

2000 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. The act states that an infant would be considered to have been born alive if he or she is completely extracted or expelled from the mother and breathes and has a beating heart and definite movement of the voluntary muscles.

2001 – In Kabul, Afghanistan, the abandoned U.S. Embassy was stormed by protesters. It was the largest anti-Amercian protest since the terror attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, on September 11.

2001 – Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres announced plans to formalize a cease-fire and end a year of fighting in the region.

 

Source: On-This-Day.com; History.com