The nationally-televised debate between Democrat Joe Biden and
Republican Sarah Palin was the most-watched match-up in history between
U.S. vice presidential candidates.
Nielsen Media Research reported on Friday nearly 70 million U.S. viewers watched Thursday's sparring session.
The figure eclipsed the previous record set in 1984, when close to 57 million people tuned in to see Republican and later President George H.W. Bush debate the first woman on a major-party ticket, Democrat Geraldine Ferraro.
The figure also surpassed the more than 52 million people who watched
presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in their first
debate last week.
Friday, both Obama and McCain praised their running mates' performances
in the only scheduled vice presidential debate. McCain said Alaska
Governor Palin did a "magnificent" job. Obama said Delaware Senator
Biden's performance was "great."
Both presidential candidates also reached out to average citizens, while campaigning in separate states.
Obama told supporters in the eastern state of Pennsylvania his policies will help create millions of jobs and put more money in people's pockets.
McCain addressed supporters in the western state of Colorado,
vowing to stabilize the U.S. financial markets and bring relief to
homeowners who are struggling with dropping home values and bad loans.
During Thursday's debate, Palin and Biden clashed on the economy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, energy and other issues.
Palin appeared confident, following a series of television interviews
that raised questions about whether she has enough experience to be the
nation's second in command.
A CBS poll found voters' opinions of Palin improved after the debate.
But it offered even better news for the Obama campaign. The survey
found 46 percent of uncommitted voters thought Biden won the debate,
compared to 21 percent for Palin.
Thursday, McCain's campaign acknowledged that it was pulling its staff and ads from the crucial midwestern state of Michigan to focus on other key states.