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Nixon-Kennedy Debate

In 1960, during one of the famous televised debates between presidential candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy, Nixon demanded that Kennedy disavow the earthy language favored by ex-President Harry Truman (a Kennedy supporter) and applauded Eisenhower (his Republican predecessor) for restoring "the dignity of the office." The dignity of the office? The knowing Kennedy simply laughed.

After the debate, Nixon was asked by reporters for his comments. "That f---ing bastard!" he cried. "He wasn't supposed to be using notes!"

[Nixon should rather have asked Kennedy to disavow his use of makeup (or followed his example). Nixon's grim appearance was widely thought to have contributed to his rout during the debates. Nixon was later asked what he thought of Kennedy's inaugural address. "It's easy," he said, "for Kennedy to get up and read

[Theodore] Sorenson's speeches."]

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