A TALE OF TWO ADS…. Given that the McCain and Obama campaigns release new ads — the line between video press releases and actual advertising has been blurred — on a nearly daily basis, it stood to reason that both camps would seize on the debate to hammer home some kind of argument.

What the campaigns chose, however, tells us something about what the two sides thought about last night’s event.

The McCain campaign unveiled an insta-ad last night, highlighting instances from the debate in which Obama said he agreed with McCain.

It’s a very odd message. As Ezra noted, “Obama comes off as gracious, not as a mimic.” I’d just add that for a lot of viewers at home, the fact that Obama was willing to be gracious, and not pick unnecessary fights, reinforced the notion that Obama is beyond partisan sniping. In this sense, the McCain campaign’s message with this is shallow and largely meaningless. What’s the underlying point McCain is trying to drive home with this? That Obama and McCain agree on some areas of foreign policy? So what?

On the other hand, the Obama campaign released its new ad this morning. It’s called, “Zero” — referring to the number of times John McCain used the words “middle class” last night.

“Number of minutes in debate: 90,” the voice-over says. “Number of times John McCain mentioned the middle class: Zero. McCain doesn’t get it. Barack Obama does.” From there, we see Obama during the debate, explain, “The fundamentals of the economy have to be measured by whether or not the middle class is getting a fair shake… And when you look at your tax policies…you are neglecting people who are really struggling right now. I think that is a continuation of the last eight years, and we can’t afford another four.”

One of these ads actually works. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not McCain’s.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.