YouTube: Debates start with Nixon vs. Kennedy

September 27, 2010: 10:34 AM ET

Fifty years have passed, but the first live televised presidential debate still shapes elections.

YouTube is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first live televised presidential debate, which took place on September 26th, 1960.

It was 50 years ago today that then Senator from Massachusetts John F. Kennedy took on then Vice President Richard Nixon in the first-ever general election presidential debate. The debate was a turning point not only for the 1960 election, but also for U.S. politics: An estimated 80 million people tuned in, and the debate set a new precedent for the use of television as a political communications tool.

In 2008, YouTube partnered with CNN on the CNN/YouTube debates and has since launched Google Moderator, which allows citizens to submit and vote on questions presented to public officials on YouTube.

The Kennedy Presidential Library has made the full Nixon Kennedy debate available  via YouTube, below:


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