OXFORD, Miss., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Leaders of the John McCain and Barack Obama campaigns cheered their candidate's performance after Friday night's presidential debate in Oxford, Miss.
Both camps told reporters on the sidelines of the debate that their opponents' shortcomings came through while their respective candidates shined.
"Sen. Obama engaged Sen. McCain tonight," Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe said on C-Span. "But the important thing is the substance of the debate and based on that, we had a clear win tonight."
Plouffe said Obama's strength in seeking a transition to an alternative-energy economy would defuse many of the foreign affairs challenges the United States faces.
The McCain camp saw things differently, portraying the junior senator from Illinois as "naive" about the war against al-Qaida and friction with Iran and Russia.
"Sen. Obama was on the defensive for most of the night," said Steve Schmidt, chief operating officer of the McCain campaign.
Charles Black, McCain's chief strategist, brushed off the notion that McCain's foreign policy would largely mirror that of the Bush administration.
"He got a chance to prove to people that he will go against his party and that he is the maverick of the Senate and will use his own judgment," Black said.