Press Release: Minow, Inside the Presidential Debates
This fall on September 26th, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain will face each other in the first of three presidential debates leading up to the general election. Their encounter will carry on a now storied political tradition that dates back to 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy first debated Vice President Richard M. Nixon. That debate, of course, marked television’s grand entrance into presidential politics and afforded the first real opportunity for voters nationwide to see their candidates square off against each other. But beforehand, as we all now know, Nixon had spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from a seriously injured knee. By the time of the debate, he was nearly 20 pounds underweight and his pallor was poor. To make matters worse, he arrived in studio wearing an ill-fitting shirt, and refused make-up to improve his color and lighten his 5 o’clock shadow. J.F.K., by contrast, had just spent several weeks campaigning in California. He was tan, confident, and well-rested. And the rest, as they say, is history. Though that history has for decades gone unwritten—until now. Enter Newton N. Minow, who here offers a timely behind-the-scenes look at how the presidential debates first came about and the many political and legal battles that have shaped them over the past several decades.
Read the press release.
Also see these memorable moments from presidential debates and read an excerpt from the book.