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Radio Diary: JFK, Nixon And The 1960 Presidential Election

Presidential candidates Sen. John Kennedy, left, and Vice President Richard Nixon face each other in a Chicago television studio during the first-ever televised presidential debate on Sept. 26, 1960. In center is moderator Howard K. Smith. (AP)
Presidential candidates Sen. John Kennedy, left, and Vice President Richard Nixon face each other in a Chicago television studio during the first-ever televised presidential debate on Sept. 26, 1960. In center is moderator Howard K. Smith. (AP)

After President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus and was hospitalized, plans started being made for a virtual debate.

That didn’t come to pass after President Trump refused to attend the virtual event. But if it had, it wouldn’t have been the first time two presidential candidates debated each other remotely.

With the help of two historians, we take a look back at the 1960 presidential race between Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon.


In this diary … we hear from:

Fredrik Logevall, professor of international affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Author of “ JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917-1956,” which is the first in a two-volume biography.

Timothy Naftali, teaches presidential history and public policy at NYU. First federal director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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