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Saturday, October 07, 2006

October 7, 1960: Two Statements From the Second Presidential Debate

"The issue" in the presidential election, Sen. John F. Kennedy said today in the second televised debate between the two candidates, "is what we are going to do in the future, and that is an issue for between Mr. Nison and myself. He feels that we are moving ahead, that we are not going into a recession in this country economically. He feels that our power and prestige is stronger than it ever was relative to that of the communists; that we are moving ahead. I disagree, and I believe the American people have to make the choice on Nov. 8 between the view of whether we have to move ahead faster, whether we have to build greater strength at home and abroad; and Mr. Nixon's view. That is the great issue.

Vice President Richard Nixon responded, "...we hear that our prestige is at an all-time low. Senator Kennedy has been hitting that poing over and over again. I would just suggest that after Premier Khrushchev's performance in the United Nations, compared with President Eisenhower's eloquent speech, that at the present time communist prestige in the world is at an all-time low and American prestige is at an all-time high.... I'm not satisfied with what we're doing in the cold war because I believe we have to step up our activities and launch an offensive for the minds and hearts and souls of men. It must be economic, it must be technological."

New York Times reporter James Reston polled the reporters covering the debate and found that 11 reporters thought Nixon had won, 11 called it a tie and five said Kennedy had won.