Segments in this Video

Nixon vs. Kennedy Debate "Housekeeping" (01:58)


ABC moderator Frank McGee introduces presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon and explains the debate rules for October 7, 1960. Reporters Paul Niven, Edward Morgan, Alvin Spivak, and Harold Levy will ask questions.

Losing Cuba: Nixon (02:48)

Nixon addresses Kennedy's criticism of his part in Cuba and points out the Eisenhower Administration's success in reducing Latin American dictatorships. He says the free people of Cuba will be supported, and doesn’t see the nation as lost to communism.

Losing Cuba: Kennedy (01:35)

Kennedy clarifies that he criticized Nixon's 1955 praise of the Batista dictatorship and the Eisenhower Administration's failure to persuade the Cuban government to hold free elections. He believes freedom will be lost if Castro remains in power

U-2 Incident: Kennedy (02:26)

Kennedy defends his suggestion to send apologies to Khrushchev as necessary to save the Summit Conference. He cites apologies by both the U.S. and Soviet Union over other spy plane incidents as accepted diplomatic procedures, and advocates increasing U.S. military strength.

U-2 Incident: Nixon (01:37)

Nixon disagrees with Kennedy that Khrushchev would have continued the conference, had the U.S. apologized. He sees spy plane missions as necessary for American defense.

Civil Rights: Nixon (03:04)

Nixon describes intentions to enforce equal opportunity government contracts, give federal assistance to districts opting to integrate schools, and require chain store owners to serve all customers. He emphasizes the need to improve civil rights to be morally superior to Khrushchev.

Civil Rights: Kennedy (01:23)

Kennedy points out Nixon's avoidance of how to implement the 1954 Supreme Court decision, and how to provide fair employment. He says that he would establish equal employment, education, and housing as president.

Presidential Civil Rights Leadership: Kennedy (02:55)

Kennedy criticizes the Eisenhower Administration for failing to implement Title III and two voting bills, and for failing to enforce the 1954 Supreme Court decision. He believes the president has a moral obligation to show that American values are superior to communism.

Presidential Civil Rights Leadership: Nixon (01:37)

Nixon points out that Kennedy's running mate opposes most civil rights proposals, and that Kennedy voted against funding the Committee on Government Contracts to enforce equal opportunity hiring practices.

Cold War Progress: Nixon (03:03)

Nixon cites U.N. support of America as a sign of prestige, and calls for fighting communism through economic and technical assistance. He points out that Democratic administrations have cut funding to “Voice of America,” mutual security, and defense.

Cold War Progress: Kennedy (01:37)

Kennedy defends his role in increasing defense funding, and cites U.N. votes in favor of communist countries as evidence of America's falling prestige. He also describes Congressional concerns over America's declining relative strength.

Increasing American Prestige: Kennedy (02:50)

Kennedy cites recent economic engagement in Latin America and argues for switching from military aid to long term loans in Laos. He warns against losing India to communism for economic reasons.

Increasing American Prestige: Nixon (01:36)

Nixon calls for increasing both technical and economic assistance to developing countries. America must think about its interests, as well as fighting communism.

Unemployment: Nixon (03:03)

Nixon advocates focusing federal aid on depressed areas and providing opportunities for older, untrained, and minority citizens. He calls for increasing credit to the private sector to avoid a recession, including using tax cuts as a stimulus.

Unemployment: Kennedy (01:34)

Kennedy points out that area redevelopment bills he co-authored were vetoed in 1955. He calls for including medical aid in social security, increasing surplus food distribution, and stimulating the economy.

U.S. Power: Kennedy (02:42)

Kennedy argues that Eisenhower and Nixon have caused America to lose prestige in Latin America and Africa, and that U.S. influence is declining relative to that of communist nations.

U.S. Power: Nixon (01:38)

Nixon defends his role and experience as vice president, while criticizing Kennedy for promoting new versions of failed economic programs.

Summit Conference: Nixon (02:23)

Nixon says that President Eisenhower would be responsible for organizing a meeting with Khrushchev and Macmillan. As president, he would be willing to meet with any world leader if it served peace, but cautions against raising false hopes.

Summit Conference: Kennedy (01:20)

Kennedy agrees with Nixon on the importance of peace talks, but advocates building military strength first for better negotiations on defending Berlin.

U.S. Outlook: Kennedy (02:49)

Kennedy argues that a tax increase in 1961 would slow the economy, and cites programs that would strengthen the nation. He believes Americans will have to make sacrifices to maintain freedom.

U.S. Outlook: Nixon (01:34)

Nixon believes that defense, mutual security, and economic expenditures will increase in the '60s. He would ask Americans to pay more tax to maintain a sound economy, if necessary.

American Morale: Nixon (02:48)

Nixon clarifies that he agreed with the decision to enter the Korean War, but disagreed with policies that had made it necessary. He criticizes Kennedy for making detrimental statements about U.S. hunger and the Cold War record, and says he has a responsibility to be accurate.

American Morale: Kennedy (01:39)

Kennedy cites Senate testimonies about 26 million Americans suffering hunger or malnutrition, and argues that the federal budget can be balanced, unless an emergency arises.

Far East Defense Line: Kennedy (02:38)

Kennedy clarifies that he would defend Quemoy and Matsu Islands during a general attack on Formosa, but argues that they are not strategically defensible on their own.

Far East Defense Line: Nixon (01:26)

Nixon argues for defending Matsu and Quemoy Islands as a matter of principle, and references defending the Korean Peninsula.

Party Labels: Nixon (02:43)

Nixon argues that he's the best candidate to lead the free world, and defends Republican programs as progressive.

Party Labels: Kennedy (00:59)

Kennedy argues that candidates represent political party platforms, and criticizes the Republican Party for opposing progressive programs.

Nixon vs. Kennedy Debate Summary (00:58)

McGee concludes the October 7, 1960 presidential debate and thanks candidates.

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John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon Debate (10/7/1960): U.S. Presidential Election Debates

Part of the Series : U.S. Presidential Election Debates
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In this October 7, 1960 ABC debate, presidential candidates Senator John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon answer press questions about their positions on Cold War defense strategies, building the U.S. economy, implementing Civil Rights legislation, and increasing American global power and prestige. 

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: BVL94910

ISBN: 978-1-68272-160-5

Copyright date: ©1960

Closed Captioned

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