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The term Great Debates was commonly used for the Lincoln-Douglas Debates during the 1858 Senate race in Illinois. Since then, the term has been extended to apply to several presidential debates, especially during the television era. Most famously, the presidential debates of 1960 were the first televised debates and included John Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

It is often contended that these debates were harmful to Nixon's campaign because several problems related to the medium were unkind to Nixon and made Kennedy look more credible. Nixon appeared to be tired and unwell during the debates due to excessive lighting that caused heat and makeup problems. Kennedy appeared well rested, energized, and healthy. Some speculate that Nixon “won” the voters who listened to the debates broadcast on radio ...

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