[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/26/art.mccain.wins.debate.jpg caption="The McCain campaign released a web ad Friday claiming McCain won the debate."]
(CNN) - The time between the final answer in any presidential debate and the campaign press release declaring victory can usually best be measured in milliseconds. But John McCain’s campaign – which has been downplaying his performance at Friday’s faceoff, offering praise for opponent Barack Obama’s “eloquence” and debating skill – seems to have decided it’s never too soon to start spinning the outcome.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the campaign was running an online ad featuring the headline: "McCain Wins Debate!" and a photo of a smiling McCain and an American flag background. Another featured a quote from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis: "McCain won the debate - hands down."
The Obama campaign quickly circulated the report – which came moments before McCain’s team confirmed he would take part in the evening debate after all.