MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - Following Friday night's first presidential debate on the Ole Miss campus, political powerhouses and pundits in Spin Alley spun the candidates' performances. Party leaders said they were pleased with how the candidates handled the important event.
Said Democratic National Commmittee Chairman Howard Dean: "I think the American public wanted to see this debate, and I think this debate was very illustrative. I think it's very clear that John McCain, while he certainly served us with honor in Vietnam, that was a long time ago. We need a new president who is going to take into consideration the full needs of security and not simply for past wars."
Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright agreed.
"For me what was interesting was this issue of looking forward or backward, and Sen. Obama was very thoughtful about the 21st century kinds of issues...but really moved forward on a whole host of issues," she said.
Mike Duncan of the Republican National Committee had plenty of complimentary words for Sen. McCain.
"Doing the right thing always helps you, and John McCain did the right thing this week. You know, there is some things are just bigger than politics and the financial markets of this country are...we were in a financial free fall. We have to renew confidence in our country. We have to make.... John McCain saw that, saw that there wasn't a solution, called the President and all of the leaders of Congress together, and the two nominees that happened yesterday. And I predict we'll see progress out of that."
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour weighed in.
"Both of them did well," he said. "Obama's a tremendous performer, but over and over, the authenticity of McCain - the real experience of McCain - the fact that he's fought a war...he understands what we're talking about."