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The Presidential Debates Between John F. Kennedy And Richard Nixon

1861 words - 7 pages

The Presidential Debates Between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon

In the Presidential Election of 1960 John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Richard
Milhouse Nixon were in a series of debates that were different from past
debates. The three biggest national television networks arranged for the
debate to be televised on all three stations. The Democratic candidate,
Senator Kennedy from Massachusetts, and Vice President Nixon both agreed
on the televised debates.
Each debate was given a subject matter that the candidates agreed to
correspond their answers with the subject. The first debate was for the issues
concerning domestic questions, the second was centered around the area of
foreign policy, and the third and fourth debates were basically a repetition of
previous topics. During each debate four news representatives asked
questions to each candidate.
On September 26, 1960 the first debate took place in Chicago. The
moderator was Howard K. Smith, and his job was to introduce the candidates
and controlled the question and answer segments of the debates. He
instructed the candidates to give their 8 minute opening speech and their three
minute closing speech. The first introduced by Smith was Senator Kennedy.
Kennedy's concept throughout his opening statement was that the
world would move in the same direction that the U.S. moved. That was in
regard to how the U.S. moved ahead toward freedom. He also stated that the
American people should be aware of the communists, Khrushchev in the
Soviet Union, the Chinese Communists, how they were on the move and
America had to counter and move towards freedom. Kennedy said that
America had to be a strong as possible to keep the world moving in the right
direction. Another point he made was the lack of American progression, and
the way we weren't utilizing our natural resources. "I believe in effective
governmental action. And I think that's the only way the United States is
going to maintain its freedom. It's the only way that we're going to move
ahead. I think we can do a better job. I think we're going to have to do a
better job if we are going to meet the responsibilities which time and events
have placed on us. We cannot turn the job over to anyone else. If the United
States fails then the whole cause of freedom fails." (The First Kennedy Nixon
Debate, p.2)
After Kennedy was finished Smith announced for Vice President
Nixon to give his opening statement. Nixon agreed with Kennedy about the
U.S. having to move. Nixon compared his thoughts on Communism to a
deadly competition, and that the U.S. was ahead and needed to stay that way.
He disagreed with Kennedy because Kennedy said that the U.S. had been
standing still, and Nixon pointed out that we had been moving. He stated that
our gross national product was the highest in the world, that more schools had
been built, we had developed more hydroelectric power, and the wages of
people had gone...

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