Both camps claim victory in Obama McCain TV clash
The campaign teams of Barack Obama and John McCain both tried to spin a post-debate win for their man after the weekend's live presidential debate on American television.
The Obama campaign released a video to highlight all the ways Mr McCain avoided using the terms "middle class" and "working people" during the debate and the McCain campaign responded with an internet ad which captured the number of times Mr Obama had agreed wholeheartedly with his adversary.
Mr McCain, who now trails in the polls after one of his worst weeks in the campaign, complained bitterly about the instant verdicts on Friday's debate. "I was a little disappointed the media called it a tie," he told a Mississippi Congressman, "but I think that means when they call it a tie, that means we win."
However the most notable feature of the first debate was its failure to attract the big television ratings that had been anticipated. The contest at the University of Mississippi was seen by fewer viewers than tuned into the debate between John Kerry and George Bush four years ago.
The conventional wisdom among pundits was that Mr McCain gave the sharper performance, but Mr Obama looked the most presidential.
The TV commentators felt Mr Obama had succeeded in tying his opponent to the failed economic and foreign policies of President Bush. But even with the economy in freefall, the Illinois senator did not manage to deliver the killer blow.