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NEW YORK (AP) - As a television draw, John McCain was every bit the equal of Barack Obama.
The GOP presidential candidate attracted roughly the same number of viewers to his convention acceptance speech Thursday as Obama did before the Democrats last week, according to Nielsen Media Research.
It marked the end of an astonishing run where more than 40 million people watched political speeches on three nights by Obama, McCain and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. The Republican convention was the most-watched convention on television ever, beating a standard set by the Democrats a week earlier.
Three times in two weeks, political speeches were watched by more people than the "American Idol" finale, the Academy Awards and the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics this year.
"It clearly suggests that a great number of Americans think that who will be the next president is important and worthy of their time," said Tom Rosenstiel, a former political reporter and director of the Project for Excellence in journalism.