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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

September 26, 1960: Nixon-Kennedy Debate Seen Nationwide, Castro Hits US 'Aggression', Soviet Space Adventure Anticipated, Emily Post Dies

Vice President Richard Nixon and Sen. John F. Kennedy engaged in a debate in Chicago that was broadcast across the nation on this day in 1960. It was the first time in history that a debate between presidential candidates was televised nationally. The exchange was reported as "calm," with few "sharp retorts." Farming, social issues and spending were discussed. An estimated 60 million people watched. The innovation was expected to spur interest in the election. Neither candidate claimed to have bested the other.

Fidel Castro condemned US "aggression" in a 4 1/2 hour address at the United Nations on this day in 1960. "In the Caribbean Islands a territory which belongs to Honduras and which is known as the Swan Islands, the Government of the United States has taken over this island. ... And maneuvers and training are being carried out in that island to promote subversion in Cuba and promote the landing of armed forces in our island," Castro said. "There is the concern and the fear of a country that has followed an aggressive and warlike policy possessing a base in the very heart of our island that turns our island into the possible victim of any international conflict, that forces us to run the risk of any atomic conflict without our having given the slightest intervention in the problem because we have absolutely nothing to do with the problems of the United States Government nor the crises that the the Government of the United States produces and provokes."

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev promoted his disarmament plan today saying he would agree to "any measure of control anyone proposes" if there was agreement to disarm.

Anticipation mounted that the Soviet Union might soon launch "a spectacular space journey," as a headline in tomorrow's edition of the New York Times would say. This comes after the US failed for the fifth time yesterday to put a probe into orbit around the moon. A problem with the second stage of the Atlas-Able rocket caused the flight to be aborted. The failure was seen as an embarrassment, coming while Khrushchev was in the county, and as possibly harming Vice President Nixon's chances for election in November. Another launch attempt is expected in a month.

India today said it will not join the bloc of neutral nations forming at the UN.

Etiquette writer Emily Post is dead at 86.

General Motors unveiled its standard-sized Buick models for 1961. The cars do not have fins and are four inches shorter. They are also two inches narrower. A new model, the Special, was described as a luxury compact.