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Old 27 September 2010, 12:12 AM
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TV When Kennedy Met Nixon: The Real Story

Ffifty years ago today, the “Great Debate” between Vice President Richard M. Nixon, the Republican nominee for president, and Senator John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee, attracted 70 million viewers — the largest audience in American history for any political event.

Six myths have persisted throughout the innumerable reports on this historic confrontation. As someone who helped Kennedy prepare and negotiate the terms for the Chicago debate, I’d like to set the half-century-old record straight.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/op...6sorensen.html
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Old 27 September 2010, 02:04 AM
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He could have made a stronger case than he did against "Nixon won on radio". There's no mention of the factor of people being turned off by Kennedy's accent (even I, a fellow New Englander, find it grating), or that people who didn't own televisions in 1960 were more likely to be Republicans in the first place.
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Old 27 September 2010, 05:26 AM
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How were people without TVs more likely to be Republicans? This was before Nixon implemented the Southern Strategy. Weren't the "poor white trash" more likely to be Democrats back than? Back than we had the solid south & they had been since reconstruction. It was only after LBJ signed The Civil Rights Act and than Nixon chose to exploit white fears of black folk that poor people went over to the Republicans. Right?
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Old 27 September 2010, 12:08 PM
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Read This! Nixon and the birth of the Southern Strategy

Here are two contemporaneous cites about Nixon and the Southern Strategy:Brian
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Old 27 September 2010, 05:22 PM
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Another prominent 1960 campaign legend stems from a news conference held in August 1960, during which a Time reporter asked President Eisenhower if he could provide an example of a major policy idea offered by Vice-President Nixon which had been adopted by his administration. Ike famously replied, "If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don't remember." This remark was (and ever since has been) widely taken as a slam at Nixon, and the Kennedy campaign built a television commercial around it.

I've since read (in places like this History Channel article) that Eisenhower's comment wasn't meant to be a slam at Nixon, but was rather a reference to his own fatigue and faulty memory:

Quote:
Nixon took a major hit in August when a reporter asked President Dwight D. Eisenhower to name some of his vice president’s contributions. Exhausted and irritated after a long press conference, Eisenhower replied, “If you give me a week, I might think of one. I don’t remember.” (While the remark was intended as a self-deprecating reference to the president’s own mental fatigue, the Democrats promptly used it in a television commercial that ended with the statement: “President Eisenhower could not remember, but the voters will remember.”)
From the evidence I've seen, it's hard to discern what the context of Eisenhower's remark was supposed to be. It was part of the 20th (and last) question of a press conference (so he might have been getting testy at the length of the proceedings at that point), but to me he sounds more like he's offering a brusque Truman-like response (humorous in its pointedness) rather than expressing irritation or fatigue.

Here's the clip of the commercial, which admittedly is somewhat lacking in context because it only includes that one question:

http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/c...ons-experience

Oddly, even though the clip linked above shows Eisenhower following his remark with "because ..." before it cuts out (as if he were about to explain the context of his comment), contemporaneous news transcripts of the press conference end with the word "remember," as if Ike said nothing past that point.
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Old 27 September 2010, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by fitz1980 View Post
How were people without TVs more likely to be Republicans? This was before Nixon implemented the Southern Strategy. Weren't the "poor white trash" more likely to be Democrats back than?
In the South, yes. In the North, no. But I wasn't referring strictly to the poor. Television was still fairly new in 1960, so some of the more old fashioned types who didn't want any part in any such newfangled technology would still be sticking to the radio. Some rural areas still had little or no television reception as well. Voters in those areas - except in the South - were more likely to be Republicans.
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Old 02 October 2010, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramblin' Dave View Post
In the South, yes. In the North, no. But I wasn't referring strictly to the poor. Television was still fairly new in 1960, so some of the more old fashioned types who didn't want any part in any such newfangled technology would still be sticking to the radio. Some rural areas still had little or no television reception as well. Voters in those areas - except in the South - were more likely to be Republicans.
By 1960 TV wasn't all that new, it was 15 years old, and by then almost everyone who had listened to radio programs was interested in having a TV, especially when those radio programs switched to TV in the 1950's. And even the rural areas had some Tv reception -with the use of really huge antenna almost everyone could pick up broadcast from the nearest town. Heck even with a set of set top rabbit ears people in Baltimore could pick up one or two of the stations broadcasting out of DC, 40 miles away, although I have to admit to much static. With a roof top antenna the reception was rather good. In Western Md in the hilly areas people had antenna in their yards which looked like mini radio towers, and they were picking up stations in Va. and Pa.

It's been estimated that there were 52 million sets in the us, which works out to about 88 percent of the people had a TV. And I rather doubt that the 12 percent without TV were all Republican, or even all poor.

I was 8, and I thought Nixon looked spooky.
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Old 02 October 2010, 04:10 PM
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TV

We had a tv in the new house we moved to in 1960. We didn't get any channels but we had a tv. I wouldn't be surprised to learn this was true of a significant number of folk leaving in rural (and sometimes not so rural) areas. I doubt it was just us.
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Old 19 October 2010, 03:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ramblin' Dave View Post
There's no mention of the factor of people being turned off by Kennedy's accent (even I, a fellow New Englander, find it grating)...
Were people really bothered by Kennedy's accent? I spend a lot of summers in Cape Cod and the Kennedy accent is similar to many that I hear there that, frankly, I find charming.
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Old 20 October 2010, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Christie View Post
We had a tv in the new house we moved to in 1960. We didn't get any channels but we had a tv. I wouldn't be surprised to learn this was true of a significant number of folk leaving in rural (and sometimes not so rural) areas. I doubt it was just us.
Knowing the history of the development in Canada as opposed to the US, I'm surprised that anyone outside of Toronto had TV, unless they were close enough to the boarder to pick up our TV stations. Not a matter of technology, more a matter of Geography, demographics and culture.

But in the US I doubt there were all that many people who were not able to get at least one tv station, and since back then the presidential debates, conventions etc pre-empted all three networks, it would have been hard to have missed it.
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Old 20 October 2010, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Larue View Post
Were people really bothered by Kennedy's accent?
It's a theory I've heard as to why people listening to the debate on the radio preferred Nixon. And since a lot of Americans love to hate the Northeast (them goldarned edjumacated snobby Jews and Catholics!), it's plausible.
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Old 20 October 2010, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Larue View Post
Were people really bothered by Kennedy's accent? I spend a lot of summers in Cape Cod and the Kennedy accent is similar to many that I hear there that, frankly, I find charming.
You've been exposed to it, and you associate it with pleasant memories. There were probably quite a few voters in 1960 who'd never heard a Boston accent, and might have found it off-putting for that reason alone. They might think he sounded weird, or foreign, or stuck-up.
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Old 21 October 2010, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Judecat View Post
Knowing the history of the development in Canada as opposed to the US, I'm surprised that anyone outside of Toronto had TV, unless they were close enough to the boarder to pick up our TV stations. Not a matter of technology, more a matter of Geography, demographics and culture.
Perhaps you know less than you think. In 1952, the first CBC and Radio-Canada television stations, CBLT-Toronto and CBFT-Montréal, began broadcasting. By 1955, CBC/Radio-Canada's television services were available to 66 per cent of the Canadian population. Also, starting in 1952 cable television was available in Canada carrying American channels. By the mid-1960s, most cities in Canada had cable tv available, so Canadians tended to have 5 English (CBC, CTV, ABC, NBC, CBS) and one French channel, with a few variations depending on where exactly they were.
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Old 21 October 2010, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by DadOf3 View Post
Perhaps you know less than you think. In 1952, the first CBC and Radio-Canada television stations, CBLT-Toronto and CBFT-Montréal, began broadcasting. By 1955, CBC/Radio-Canada's television services were available to 66 per cent of the Canadian population. Also, starting in 1952 cable television was available in Canada carrying American channels. By the mid-1960s, most cities in Canada had cable tv available, so Canadians tended to have 5 English (CBC, CTV, ABC, NBC, CBS) and one French channel, with a few variations depending on where exactly they were.
I didn't say that you didn't have tv in 1960, I said that due to geography, demographics and culture I didn't think you had TV in the rural areas outside of the Toronto area, where your one TV network originated. I didn't know you had cable TV, but that still doesn't change my point. But your figure of 66 percent of the population having access to TV does re-enforce my point.
My point was that, I can understand why someone in a rural area of Canada didn't have the same access to TV that we did.
You had a population of approx. 18,000,000, with 11 million living in Ontario and Quebec, with the other 7 million living in the rest of the habitable part of the country. Less urban concentration, more space for urban areas. We had 180,000,000 people, with about 32 million in our two most populous states, New York and California. Even today Ontario has a population density of 12/km2, while New York has 157/km2. It's really hard in most of the country to live outside of TV broadcast range.
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