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Who won the debate?

September 27, 2008
Let's call it a draw.

United States Presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and John McCain debated for a full 90 minutes on Friday night in Oxford, Mississippi, with neither winning decisively, but both performing soundly. Neither committed a serious gaffe and it's unlikely that the result will be widely construed as a major victory for either side.

In this, the first of three Presidential debates, discussion was to be geared towards issues of foreign policy and national concern, but the prevailing financial crisis diverted attention to the national economy.

Interestingly, neither candidate dominated the discussion on his supposed strong point -- Senator McCain was at times shaky on foreign policy matters while Senator Obama appeared flustered when pressed on economic issues like budget spending. Surprisingly, they both did well on their weak points -- Senator McCain on the economic policy and Obama on security issues.

Though debates are often marked by a single memorable quip or phrase, this one lacked a defining moment. Senator McCain managed to get in several 'zingers', including references to Senator Obama's liberal voting record and his purported naivete on foreign policy, but none worked to devastating effect.

Text: Matthew Schneeberger

Image: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate John McCain shake hands after the first of the three presidential debates. The debate was held in the Gertrude Castellow Ford Centre at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi.
Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Also read: Why the US presidential debates are crucial

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