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Joe the Plumber: Nielsen success, but no Sarah Palin

FinaldebateWednesday night's final presidential debate pulled in 56.5 million viewers -- down a bit from the 63.2 million who watched the second debate, but still more than the first round's 52.4 million. It's also worth noting that this was the first debate to face significant competition: Fox didn't carry it, picking up the decisive baseball playoff game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies, which no doubt cut heavily into the Southern California ratings.

However heroic the exploits of Joe the Plumber, the mythic Ohio man whose theories on taxation suddenly obsessed both John McCain and Barack Obama, he still couldn't match Sarah Palin as a TV draw. Her debate with Joe Biden, with 69.9 million viewers, remains the 2008 Nielsen champ.

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