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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

November 8, 1960: Uncertain Election Results Favor Kennedy, Fighting Erupts in South Vietnam

In Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, tonight Sen. John F. Kennedy watched his early lead over Vice President Nixon narrow as the evening progressed and refused to claim victory before Nixon conceded defeat.

Nixon watched the returns come in at his suite in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles and later "virtually concedes," according to a report written to appear the next day.

In California, with 32 electoral votes, Kennedy maintained a lead over Nixon. Nixon, however, remained confident of winning his home state once absentee ballots were counted.

In Illinois Kennedy maintained a slim lead.

Despite the uncertain returns, New York Times reporter James Reston prepared a story for tomorrow's edition of his paper saying it "appeared" Kennedy had won election.

Another story prepared this evening for tomorrow's paper says, "... in the final hours of Election Day we do not collectively know what we have decided."

But TV computers were more confident: "Electronic computers at the television networks produced contradictory early forecasts ... but finally agreed in predicting a substantial victory for Senator John F. Kennedy."

In Saigon, the government charged Communist North Vietnam with aggression. There has been fierce fighting recently around Kontum in South Vietnam.

The Saigon government said the Communists attacked from their bases in the North, crossing territory in Laos with major units in an effort to take control of a "vast region" and stage further attacks against the South. A coup last August in Laos toppled a pro-Western government and installed rulers friendly to the Communists.

In Peiping tonight Chairman Mao Tse-tung, head of China's Communist party, attended a Soviet Embassy reception celebrating the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution.

There was a parade of Soviet rocket power in Moscow's Red Square today. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev later declared that peace was at hand.

Vice President Nixon ended his drive for the presidency tonight, urging voters to "put America first" when going to the polls.

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