College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Debate 08: History Department Hosts Lecture on Kennedy-Nixon TV Debate

With The University of Mississippi hosting the first presidential debate in September 2008, the Department of History arranged for a look back at the first-ever televised presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960.  “Most people don’t realize that despite an abysmal performance in the first debate, Nixon almost won the election,” said guest lecturer James Baughman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  “Students routinely assume that television was more powerful than it really was.”   In this video, Baughman discusses televised debates within the historical context of this famous 1960 example.