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UVA Center for Politics teams with MTP to mark 50th anniversary of Great Debates

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Fifty years ago television changed the landscape of political campaigns and elections. The Great Debates of 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon were the first of their kind, and their effects continue to resonate today.

The U.Va. Center for Politics and NBC’s “Meet the Press” will present a special program on the 50th anniversary of the 1960 debates. “The Great Debates: A New Era in Political Communication” will take place in NBC’s historic Studio A in Washington, DC – the location of the second debate on October 7, 1960 between Kennedy and Nixon – on September 24, 2010 and will be available for viewing online beginning September 26 at

Moderated by “Meet the Press” host David Gregory, the panel will include Ted Sorensen, counsel and speechwriter to JFK; Sander Vanocur, one of the original media panelists from the first debate; Pat Buchanan, senior aide to President Nixon; and Dr. Larry Sabato, director of UVA's Center for Politics. This expert panel will discuss what happened behind the scenes, political image-making, effects of the debates and how technology continues to shape politics today.

This program was made possible through collaboration with the Nixon Foundation and the JFK Library and is part of an ongoing effort by the U.Va. Center for Politics and its partners to mark the 50th anniversary of many of the landmark political and social events of the 1960s. For more information on the Center for Politics’ Golden Anniversary Series visit


Founded in 1998 by political analyst and Professor Larry J. Sabato, the University of Virginia Center for Politics ( is a non-partisan institute that seeks to promote the value of politics, improve civics education, and increase civic participation through comprehensive research, pragmatic analysis, and innovative educational programs.