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Entry for 4/30/2008 at 5:03:14 AM
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The revolutionary president John F. Kennedy once stated, “For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” Known for his progressive and non-violent tactics, Kennedy handled some of the toughest times for the United States, including violent civil rights protests and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the closest our nation has ever come to total nuclear devastation. However, by remaining calm, confident, and levelheaded throughout his presidency, JFK was able to guide our nation gracefully through these turbulent times. His innovative, yet controversial ideas led to his successful election in 1960, but ultimately led to his assassination in 1963.
Regardless of his youth, John F. Kennedy was the Democratic winner of the closest election in the U.S. history. Kennedy won the popular vote by .2% against Republican candidate Richard Nixon, who was popular for his conservative ideals. Texas Senator Lyndon B. Johnson was chosen as Kennedy’s running mate, but no one could have estimated his eventual importance. Everyone knows that if the unthinkable were to happen, if the President were to die, the Vice President would be forced to assume his responsibilities. This had not occurred since the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the American public naively believed it could not happen again. Kennedy and Johnson were a strong team, but until the Great Debates, they were not the clear victors against Nixon and Henry Lodge.
The Kennedy-Nixon Debates of 1960, also known as the Great Debates, had an important impact on the outcome of the presidential election. Fifty percent of all voters were influenced by these four debates, and six percent made their voting decision from the debates alone. Being the first ever televised debates, Kennedy had a great advantage due to his looks. This was the first election in history where the majority of the public had a visual representation of the candidates. While JFK was tan, fit, youthful, and confident, Nixon had stubble, and appeared sweaty and sickly. However, the men were equally matched with their debating skills. They deliberated over domestic issues, two islands off the coast of China, and America’s relations with Cuba. On each of these critical points, Kennedy made it clear to the public that his ground breaking policies would point America in the right direction.



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