U.Va. Center for Politics, 'Meet the Press' Team to Mark 50th Anniversary of Great Debates

September 20, 2010

September 17, 2010 — Fifty years ago, television changed the landscape of political campaigns and elections.

The Great Debates of 1960 between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were the first of their kind, and their effects continue to resonate today.

The University of Virginia Center for Politics and NBC's "Meet the Press" will present a special program on the 50th anniversary of the 1960 debates. "The Great Debates: A New Era in Political Communication" will take place Sept. 24 in NBC's historic Studio A in Washington, D.C. – the location of the second Kennedy-Nixon debate on Oct. 7, 1960 – and will be available for viewing online beginning Sept. 26 at www.mtp.msnbc.com.

Moderated by "Meet the Press" host David Gregory, the panel will include Ted Sorensen, Kennedy's counsel and speechwriter; Sander Vanocur, one of the original media panelists from the first debate; David Gergen, speechwriter during the Nixon administration; and U.Va. politics professor Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics.

The panel will discuss what happened behind the scenes, political image-making, effects of the debates and how technology continues to shape politics today.

This program was made possible through collaboration with the Nixon Foundation and the Kennedy Library and is part of an ongoing effort by the U.Va. Center for Politics and its partners to mark the 50th anniversary of many of the landmark political and social events of the 1960s.

For information on the Center for Politics' Golden Anniversary Series, visit here.