ARCHIVAL VIDEO: The First Televised Debate

Sept. 26, 1960: John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon face off for the nation's first televised presidential debate.
3:13 | 09/26/16

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Transcript for ARCHIVAL VIDEO: The First Televised Debate
Good evening. The television and radio stations of the United States and their affiliated stations. Are proud to provide facilities for a discussion of issues in the current political campaign by the two major candidates for the presidency. And now for the first opening statement by senator John F. Kennedy. And it. In the election of 1860. Abraham Lincoln said to question law and whether this nation could exist. Half slave half free. In the election of 1960 in with the world around us the question is whether the world will exist half slave. Half free. But it will move in the direction of freedom. In the direction of the road that we are taking. A whether it will move in the direction of slavery. I think it would depend in great measure upon what we do here in the United States. On a kind of society that we bailed. On the kind of strength that we maintain. The kind of country we have via the kind of society we had the kind of strength we build in the United States will be the defense of freedom. If we do well India. If we meet our obligations if we are moving ahead. Then I think freedom will be secure around the world if we fail and freedom fail. Therefore I think the question before the American people is how we doing as much as we can do how we as strong as we should be. Are we a strong as we must be if we're going to maintain our independence. And if we're going to maintain and hold out the hand of friendship to those who look to last for assistance to those who look to last for survival. I should make it very clear that I do not think we're doing enough that I am not satisfied as an American with a progress we're making. This is a great country. But I think it could be a great country. And this is a powerful country but I think it could be a more powerful country. Smith Senator Kennedy. The things that Senator Kennedy has said. Many of us can agree. There is no question. But that we cannot discuss our internal affairs in the United States. Without recognizing. That they have a tremendous bearing on our international position. There is no question but that this nation cannot stand still. Because we are in a deadly competition. A competition not only with the men in the Kremlin but the men and Peking. We're ahead in this competition and Senator Kennedy I think it's implied. But when your in a race the only way to stay ahead is to move. And I subscribe completely to the spirit that Senator Kennedy has expressed the night despair at the United States should move ahead. I know what it means to be poor. I know what it means to see people who are unemployed. I know Senator Kennedy feels is deeply about these problems as I. But our disagreement. Is not about the goals for America but only about the means to reach those goals. Thank you mr. Nixon that completes the opening statements and all the candidates will answer questions ought to comment upon one another's answers to questions put by correspondence of the network.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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