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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

November 15, 1960: Kennedy's Popular Vote Margin Dwindles, Thermonuclear Missiles Go to Sea

President-elect Kennedy lost ground to Vice President Nixon today in the popular vote for president. Kennedy's lead narrowed to 240,399 votes, out of 67 million cast. Kennedy will be the third president in the 20th Century to receive less than 50 percent of the total votes cast, after Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman. In California, Kennedy's lead dropped to 14,453. The state with the narrowest margin is Hawaii, where Nixon won by 141 votes. Nixon received more votes than any other losing candidate ever had. In Illinois, Republican leaders said they would hold a conference on how to prove that Kennedy lost the state's vote. "Although the State Electoral Board awarded Illinois' twenty-seven electoral votes yesterday to the Democrat, Mrs. C. Wayland Brooks, Republican national acommitteewoman from Illinois, said she was encountering strong sentiments against dropping the matter," said a New York Times story prepared for publication tomorrow. "She said numerous state senators had urged her to 'keep going.'" The Navy's first submarine armed with thermonuclear missiles went on regular patrol today. The $11 million, nuclear-powered George Washington, equipped with 16 Polaris missiles, was said to open a new era in warfare. "the George Washington and her following sister ships possess a power and relative invulnerability which will make suicidal any attempt by an aggressor to attack the free world by surprise," President Eisenhower said. Admiral Arleigh Burke, chief of Naval Operations, said to the crew, "your ship and the missiles it carries will contribute to the salvation of civilization, for you man the most powerful weapons system ever devised." By 1965 the Navy hopes to have 45 Polaris subs.

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