In the quest to President there are more than a few things that you must be. You must be well educated. You have the backing of one of the two main political parties. You must have a good strategy to get into office, and up until the 1960′s that was it. However, the great debates of Nixon and Kennedy changed what it would take to win the oval office.
Nixon was the former vice president and one of the brightest political minds in the world. He was going against Kennedy who was much better known for his families name than he was for his political career. On paper there was really no reason to pick Kennedy over Nixon. Nixon seemed much more equipped to handle the needs of the Oval Office.
In was during the campaign that they decided to televise all the Presidential Debates. During the first debate Nixon had decided that he would wing it. He was on the campaign trail until hours before the debates. He had opted not to prep beforehand. He figured his innate knowledge of the American political system would be enough to get him into office.
Another thing that he decided to do was not wear make up. He was just getting over getting sick but he figured that make up wasn’t needed. The result was horrendous. While Nixon made excellent points, it was Kennedy who came off like a star and a leader. Nixon looked sick and his five o’clock shadow made him look a sinister human.
The result was that even Nixon’s mother was concerned that her soon had not gotten over his illness. This all led to a flurry about Nixon not being the right kind of person to handle the pressures of the Oval Office. It’s not clear that he would have won had the debate been different but it certainly didn’t help his chances. It was a lesson for all presidents to follow.