First presidential debates remembered

Americans watching television on this day in 1960 saw something new. It wasn't part of the fall lineup; it{}carried a much more important message. For the first time, the nation saw a televised presidential debate carried coast-to-coast by all the networks.

Vice president Richard M. Nixon sat down with Senator John F. Kennedy to have what was termed a "discussion on domestic matters."

The event was held in a studio in Chicago. There was no set; just two chairs separated by a desk and chair for the moderator.

Such debates have evolved over the past 50 years. One week from tonight, October 3, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will hold the first of three debates. They will meet in Denver for 90 minutes to discuss the economy, health care, the role of government, and governing.

The candidates prepare for weeks for these debates. Analysts say how well a candidate does can give him a bump in the polls. Those bumps are becoming more critical now as the election is just six weeks away.