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Today in history: September 26
In 1960, the first televised presidential debate
Changing the election game forever.
Changing the election game forever. (CORBIS)

September 26, 1960: Vice President Nixon and Sen. John F. Kennedy met in Chicago in a TV debate; presidential campaigns would never be the same again. People hearing the debate on the radio thought Nixon won. But on TV Nixon, who had been ill, was sweating and looked bad. JFK, who had flown in from California, had a nice tan and was perceived by viewers as being healthy and attractive.

The image that both Nixon and Kennedy projected helped establish television as the most important political medium. It also raised questions among historians as to whether other presidents would have been elected, given their physical attributes: an unsightly Abraham Lincoln, for example, or Franklin D. Roosevelt in braces and a wheelchair.

Quote of the Day

"Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"

Abraham Lincoln

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