Sunday, March 06, 2016

CNN: "Race for the White House": Kennedy edges Nixon in 1960, first televised debates


Tonight CNN premiered its new series “Race for the White House”, executive-produced by Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti, at 10 PM EST Sunday night after the two-hour Democratic debate in Flint MI.

The first episode is not necessarily the first chronologically. It covered the Kennedy-Nixon race in 1960.  The most important factor presented is that Kennedy performed much better than Nixon on television. Nixon was said to look “embalmed”.  He also was having a lot of trouble from a knee injury and infection.

Kennedy also rose to a challenge with Martin Luther King was arrested, somewhat reversing a trend set by southern Democrats still supporting segregation.  In 1960, the GOP was probably ahead in Civil Rights.



I was a senior in high school at the time, and even remember the Democratic convention in 1960 while in Kipton, Ohio.

Nixon did not challenge the election, despite the evidence of voter fraud in Illinois and Texas. Yet the experience may have provided the first level of temptation eventually leading to Watergate.

Some of the scenes in the documentary are acted, such as Nixon’s one shirtless (hairless chest) appearance at the swimming pool at the Ambassador Hotel in LA.

How would Nixon have handled the Cuban Missile Crisis?  Or would he have gotten into the Bay of Pigs?  How about the Berlin Wall.

The earlier debate was heated, as Sanders told Clinton, about her ties to Wall Street, "Some of your friends destroyed this economy --- excuse me, I'm talking."  But some observers accused Sanders of "interrupting" (like me in grade school) and of half-intentionally insulting the mentally ill. 

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