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Obama, McCain debate draws 52 million people

The nationally televised debate last week between U.S. presidential contenders John McCain and Barack Obama drew 52.4 million U.S. viewers.
/ Source: Reuters

The nationally televised debate last week between U.S. presidential contenders John McCain and Barack Obama drew 52.4 million U.S. viewers, far below 1980's record audience, Nielsen Media Research reported Monday.

The tally for Friday's 90-minute debate between the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees also fell just shy of the 52.7 million viewers who tuned in last Wednesday to see President Bush's prime-time address urging swift congressional action on the financial crisis.

The McCain-Obama matchup fell well short of the 80.6 million viewers who watched the Oct. 28, 1980, debate between then-President Jimmy Carter and his Republican challenger, Ronald Reagan. That is still a record audience for a televised U.S. presidential debate.