Chapter 30: The Turbulent Sixties, 1960-1969 (#1)

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Chapter 30: The Turbulent Sixties, 1960-1969 (#1)

  • nation’s first televised debate between two presidential candidates

    • Kennedy – proposed the debates and Nixon – accepted

  • Richard Nixon – arrived tired and ill at ease; still recovering from a knee injury that had slowed his campaign and left him pale and weak

    • makeup experts offered to hide Nixon’s heavy beard and soften his prominent jowls, but the GOP candidate declined

      • let an aide apply a light coat of Max Factor’s “Lazy Shave” a pancake cosmetic

  • John Kennedy – tanned and rested, wore very light makeup and changed from a gray to a dark blue suit better adapted to the intense television lighting

  • would have a viewing audience estimated at 77 million

    • ground rules limited the first debate to domestic issues, Kennedy argued that foreign and domestic policy were inseparable

      • Kennedy – radiated confidence and self-assurance – used a flow of statistics and details to create the image of a man deeply knowledgeable about all aspects of government

      • Nixon – seemed nervous and unsure of himself

  • polls showed a swing to Kennedy – were impressed by his performance

    • Nixon – suffered from his unattractive image; those who heard the debate on radio thought the Republican candidate more than held his own

      • Nixon improved his performance in subsequent debates, but the damage had been done

        • televised debates were only one of many factors influencing the outcome of the 1960 election

          • Kennedy won because he took full advantage of all his opportunities

  • Kennedy – promised to stimulate the lagging economy and carry forward long-overdue reforms in education, health care, and civil rights under the banner of the “New Frontier”

    • renewed commitment to the Cold War, vowing he would lead the nation to victory over the Soviet Union

    • won over African American voters by helping to secure the release of Martin Luther King Jr.

    • even though he had no mandate, Kennedy’s triumph did mark a sharp political shift

  • Kennedy symbolized youth, energy, and ambition

  • nation – would still have angry protests, violent demonstrations, and sweeping social change

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