ABC News' George Stephanopoulos reports: Republican presidential candidate John McCain had his best debate against Democrat Barack Obama last night, but it wasn't enough to change the trajectory of the race.
Even though McCain followed the advice of those who were saying 'take the gloves off' he really didn't land a knockout blow on Obama. And Obama appeared very calm throughout all the attacks and was able to explain his positions throughout the debate.
McCain's big problem now is that there are only 19 days left in the 2008 presidential campaign and he doesn't have any more huge events where he can capture the attention of the nation like you do in a debate.
But there are two things to watch in the final days of the campaign: money and the electoral map.
Money: Obama has a huge fundraising advantage going into the final two-and-a-half weeks. He is out spending McCain on television advertising 2 to 1, and sometimes 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 in some of the key battleground states.
Battleground States: Looking at the electoral landscape, there are seven must win states for McCain, including Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Given the way the electoral map is right now, McCain has to win every single one of those states to eek out a narrow electoral college victory, unless there's a massive shift in the race.
Right now Obama is ahead or at the least tied in every single one of McCain's seven must-win states. If the election were held today, Obama would win 300 electoral votes -- a presidential candidate needs to win 270 to take the White House.