chairs were used by nominees John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon
in the first televised debate between presidential candidates. More
accurately described as a joint press conference by today's standards,
it was a signal event in the history of television and electoral
campaigning. Following the debate, CBS president Frank N. Stanton
had a commemorative silver plate attached to the back of each chair,
identifying its user.
The series of four
Nixon/Kennedy debates established new standards and expectations
for candidate preparation, performance, and appearance. When asked
at a press conference the day after the election whether his victory
would have been possible without the help of television, Kennedy
replied "I don't think so." The 1960 presidential election
ushered in a new era of political strategy with the realization
of television's power to sway public opinion.