Richard M. Nixon: “Kitchen” Debate with Nikita Khrushchev

(1959)

Before he became president, Richard Nixon had earned a reputation as a hard-nosed politician with a gift for seeking publicity. He had been put on the presidential ticket with Dwight Eisenhower even though Eisenhower seemed to have no rapport with Nixon and did little to support his running mate when Nixon found himself in trouble during the 1952 presidential campaign and had to deal with accusations that he had used a secret political fund for his personal benefit. Throughout his career, Nixon relied on radio and television to mold his image. During a cultural exchange visit to Russia in 1959, Vice President Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev engaged in an intense impromptu debate about each country’s industrial accomplishments. The televised exchange was famously termed the “Kitchen” Debate because it took place in a model American suburban kitchen at the American National Exhibition.The debate showed that Nixon could remain cool under pressure, especially when a...

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Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev engaging in the ”Kitchen“ Debate (Library of Congress)

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