In 1960, when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon met face to face in the first televised presidential debates in American history, a new era began in which on-camera personality, media exposure, and public image had major impacts on political campaigns. Fifty-six years later, televised presidential debates have become commonplace and even more critical to the outcome of presidential elections.
Just added to Films On Demand, the new U.S. Presidential Election Debates series, together with the Ronald Reagan–John Anderson debate of 1980 , offer a fascinating look back at every televised United States presidential election debate in history. Watch each debate in full and explore how they have changed over the years. Compare significant points in the debates to the eventual outcomes of the elections. Have students listen closely to identify the issues that the candidates both are and are not addressing, and have them rank the candidates by how effective they were at conveying their points.