52 years ago, on November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy beat Richard M. Nixon in the presidential election, becoming the 35th American president. In the national popular vote, Kennedy beat Nixon by just one tenth of one percentage point (0.1%)–the closest popular-vote margin of the 20th century. Kennedy won by 303 electoral votes.
The election marked the very first televised candidates’ debates.
During the first debate, Nixon appeared tired and pale after recovering from a two-week hospital stay. He also refused to wear make-up. In contrast, JFK looked healthy and tan. Subsequent polls revealed that listeners on the radio tended to declare Nixon the victor, while those who watched on TV favored Kennedy. Nixon ultimately lost the election by one of the narrowest margins in history.
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