Debate Verdict: John McCain, Barack Obama Exchange Blows, No Knockouts

Barack Obama and John McCain had their most intense debate yet Tuesday night, but when it was over little had changed in their increasingly bitter contest for the White House.

The two men tangled over the economy, health care, taxes, energy, Iran and their temperaments during their 90-minute town hall style debate in Nashville, Tenn.

While each candidate got in clean shots, none of the blows were significant enough to alter the direction of the race, which has Obama building a growing lead over McCain in most polls.

McCain Needed 'Game Changer' in Second Debate

The pressure was on McCain when the two men met in the second of three scheduled debates to produce a "game changer," something that would alter the dynamic of the race and reverse his slide in the polls.

"There was nothing that Sen. McCain said last night that people are going to be talking about today... that's going to change the nature of this race," George Stephanopoulos, ABC News' senior Washington correspondent, told "Good Morning America" the day after the debate.

"He tried to put Sen. Obama on the defensive on taxes, on spending. But it didn't really seem to stick."

Watch Highlights From the Debate By Clicking Here and Watch 'World News' at 6:30 p.m. ET Wednesday for Charles Gibson's Interview With Barack Obama

round two debate

One thing that people were talking about, however, was McCain's dismissive reference to Obama as "that one" after asking a question about which candidate voted for an energy bill that was "loaded with goodies."

Obama, who talked about his determination to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan if necessary, "showed toughness on foreign policy" and made a dramatic point about health care when he talked about his mother dying of cancer at the age of 53 and spending her last month in the hospital battling insurance companies.

Both campaigns came out of the debate with fresh TV ads.

Obama's new attack ad is titled "Taketh" and includes a moment in the debate in which Obama argues that McCain's plan to give Americans a $5,000 tax deduction to buy health care would be financed by taxing health care benefits. "So what one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away," Obama says.

McCain's attack ad tags Obama as the Senate's most liberal member and complains that Obama defends himself by accusing other people of lying.

The two rivals have 26 more days and one more debate before Election Day.

"His back is really up against the wall," Stephanopoulos said, referring to McCain.

"He's getting outspent two to one, three to one in battleground states. He's behind in every battleground state that matters right now," he said.

No Knockouts for McCain, Obama in 2nd Presidential Debate

McCain opened the debate Tuesday night by offering a new proposal aimed at helping struggling homeowners to avoid foreclosure.

McCain said he would cut taxes for all Americans and proposed a new policy in which the secretary of the Treasury would "buy up bad home loan mortgages."

The proposal would cost about $300 billion, which the campaign said would come out of the $700 billion financial bailout package passed by Congress last week, according to a fact sheet distributed by the McCain campaign.

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