ABC News' George Stephanopoulos reports: A day after they squared off against each other in Nashville, Tenn., for their second debate, the campaigns of both John McCain and Barack Obama expressed frustration with the format.
The candidates felt that the stilted, disjointed format of what was supposed to be a town hall-style debate made it harder for them to make their cases, Obama and McCain campaign aides tell ABC News.
The McCain campaign was further frustrated that their candidate didn't get more credit for the proposal that he made at the top of the debate for the government to refinance the nation's troubled mortgages.
McCain needs to do three things with the remainder of this election: separate himself from President George W. Bush, make a case against Obama, and make a positive case for himself as a future president, and aides worry he didn't get a solid chance to do that during this last debate.
Obama's campaign was a bit more pleased with the outcome of the debate, especially with their candidate's tone, demeanor, and manner. The Obama campaign believes that over the course of these presidential debates Obama is reassuring voters that he can handle the job of president.
The Obama campaign has already created an ad out based on a moment from last night's debate when the Illinois senator called health care a "right" for every American. It's something they think voters will pay attention to in the last weeks of the campaign.
Today Obama campaigned in Indiana, a state that up until a couple months ago, few thought he would have a chance in.
But with poll numbers showing Obama leading McCain nationally and in many key battleground states, the Obama campaign is playing in a much wider electoral map than McCain right now. Even if Obama doesn't win Indiana, he is forcing McCain to spend time and money in a state once thought reliably red -- a key strategy for Obama.
Even more importantly, Obama is outspending McCain 3 to 1 in key battleground states. We're seeing the incredible fundraising machine that Obama has put in place kick into gear in the final weeks of the campaign.
Over the last week, Obama has spent over $7 million more than McCain and the Republican National Committee spent in the battleground states.
McCain spent $10, 855, 000 while Obama spent $17, 445, 000 in overall ad spending during Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, according to TNSMI/Campaign Media Analysis Group and the University of Wisconsin advertising project.
In Florida during that same period Obama spent $2,213, 000 in media ads while McCain spent $659, 000.
In Ohio McCain spent $1,727,000 to Obama's whopping $2, 218,000 during that same period.
It's a big advantage for Obama going into the final weeks of the campaign.