One New Jersey congressman believes that tonight’s presidential debate will shatter the record first set by the nation’s first televised debate. Richard Nixon famously went up against John F. Kennedy back in 1960 in what most television viewers saw as a crushing defeat and radio listeners heard as a decisive victory.
Though U.S. Representative Leonard Lance (R-7) wouldn’t say whom he expects to come off as the sweating, heavy-lidded Nixon or the tan and smiling Kennedy, he predicted that tonight’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be just as significant for the record books.
“The first Kennedy-Nixon debate was on Monday, September 26th, 1960,” he said, noting that tonight’s debate will share the same date and day of the week. “I believe that that was the most-watched event in political history to that point, television was relatively new. And I do see a parallel tonight. I think as many as 100 million americans will watch the debate tonight.”
Asked who he expects to carry the night, Lance stopped short of predicting a victory for Trump. Lance, who is up for reelection this year in his conservative Central Jersey district, endorsed Trump without praising the candidate himself back in May.
“I await watching the debate, and I’m by nature an optimist. And I hope both candidates stick to the important issues of the current place of our nation. They include the state of the economy and the war against terrorism.
“I believe that Hillary Clinton’s strength is her history of being involved with public policy. I think Donald Trump’s strength is the fact that the American people want change,” he continued. “I think they both have strengths and I suppose the weaknesses would be other side of both those issues,” he added, laughing.
“I don’t recall the event itself because we didn’t have a television. We had a radio in our house, we didn’t have a television in 1960.”
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.