Thursday, March 05, 2009

Kennedy / Nixon

We all know the story about the Presidential Debate between Nixon and Kennedy. On radio Nixon came off as the winner while on TV Kennedy came off as the winner because he looked better. Turns out there's more to the story.

Excerpt from a forthcoming pictorial history of Walter Reed Army Hospital:
At the beginning of its sixth decade, Walter Reed would play a little
known role in the historic presidential campaign and election of 1960. Vice-President Richard M. Nixon who was running against Senator John F. Kennedy injured his left knee in August 1960; the knee ultimately became infected with Staphylococcus aureus and Mr. Nixon was admitted to Ward 8 at Walter Reed. Treated with intravenous antibiotics for only 10 days, he left the hospital in early September to begin the campaign in earnest. A few days later he experienced high fever and chills and was again treated with antibiotics. Nixon never fully recovered before the first televised debate on September 26, 1960; his general poor physical condition and appearance was apparent to the nation compared to the apparently robust Kennedy. Nixon did ultimately recover from his septic knee joint but never recovered from the poor showing in the debate and lost a close race to John Kennedy.

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