The TV audience for Friday night's first debate between rival presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama was expected to rival the record 80.6 million Americans who watched the 1980 debate between Ronald Reagan and President Carter, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The candidates were split on whether to even go forward with the debate, given the economic crisis facing the world market.
McCain had sought to delay it "until we have taken action to address this crisis." Obama questioned why the Republican nominee couldn't handle two things at once -- the debate and involvement in the bailout negotiations.
An Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll out Friday just before McCain agreed to attend showed that the public overwhelmingly wanted the candidates to debate, 60 percent to 22 percent, with the rest undecided.
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