History lessons: Image counts - Kennedy vs nixon

In 1960, Democratic senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy was campaigning for the presidency of the US. Though young, attractive and smart, he faced an uphill fight - would voters accept a Roman Catholic of Irish descent as president? In September and October, Kennedy and Republican candidate Richard Nixon faced off in a series of televised presidential debates - the first ever. Nixon emphasised his experience, but Kennedy made much of the stagnant American economy, saying fresh blood would 'get the country moving again'. Nixon sported a five o'clock shadow and looked tense and uncomfortable, while Kennedy seemed fresh and relaxed. The TV audience thought Kennedy looked like a winner, even though radio listeners felt Nixon won the debates. That November, Kennedy won the election by a mere 0.2% of the vote. Remember, the appearance of grace under pressure is as reassuring to clients as it is to voters - especially during an economic downturn.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

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