Despite the skewed reality of the US presidential campaign, intriguing clues are emerging that provide a window on how John McCain and Barack Obama would govern should they win next Tuesday. Just as this election presents stark differences between the pugnacious pragmatism of Senator McCain versus the eloquent idealism of Senator Obama, their organisational styles are different, too. If Senator Obama's campaign style has been marked by a fierce discipline in recent days - despite opposition provocations - his organisation is marked by the same trait. His foreign policy advisers, for example, are broken up into teams covering regions. Early each morning they prepare detailed briefings of overnight events and possible talking points, covering leadership changes, social tensions and economic shifts. 'It's like a mini-State Department across there,' said one Republican familiar with the Democrat's operation. 'It's as rigorously organised as other parts of his machine.' One Obama foreign policy adviser said his boss was well aware of his inexperience and didn't want to be found wanting. 'For months now, he's had a thirst for good, reliable information...he's made it known to us that he wants to make judgments and statements based on the best possible information, seven days a week. He is quite forensic about it.' Senator McCain, meanwhile, has a more relaxed approach, based in part on the fact that he has more foreign policy experience after two decades in the Senate following a long military career. 'We're not sweating the small stuff,' said one McCain adviser. 'Mr McCain has considerable knowledge of world leaders and a natural ability to digest running events ...he's a big-picture guy. He trusts his instincts.' On domestic issues and campaign management, Senator McCain is having to defend himself against growing claims that disorganisation is costing him votes in the race's closing stages. While Senator Obama still has faith in his ability to convince through rhetorical flourish, Senator McCain has a harder edge - differences in approach highlighted by their foreign policies. Both candidates are backed by top-drawer advisers from the ranks of Republican and Democratic foreign policy establishments. Senator McCain draws on the experience of Brent Scowcroft, the former national security adviser to then-president George H.W. Bush and a figure well known in China and across East Asia. More routine regional advice also flows from Richard Armitage and Randy Schriver, former deputy and deputy assistant secretaries of state respectively under Colin Powell during President George W. Bush's first term. Senator McCain's list for possible secretary of state includes current World Bank chief Robert Zoellick and Senator Joe Lieberman, the veteran Democrat-turned-independent who has campaigned for the Republican candidate in recent weeks. Senator Obama, meanwhile, speaks frequently with Clinton-era officials, former national security adviser Tony Lake and treasury secretary Robert Rubin. Defence Secretary Robert Gates, a veteran intelligence analyst, could remain in his job should either candidate win. Senator Obama's regional advisers include veteran former diplomat Jeff Bader, who spent three decades in the State Department, National Security Council and Office of the US Trade Representative, and China scholar David Lampton. Both men are former Hong Kong residents. Senator Obama is known to be eyeing Democrat senator John Kerry, former ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke and Republican senator Richard Lugar for the position of secretary of state. Both candidates' China and regional views represent a loose consensus in Washington establishment circles over the continuing broadening of the China relationship while boosting other alliances and friendships. Nuanced differences in approach are likely to be seen in trade enforcement, energy policy and military relationships. Foreign policy analysts outside each campaign are pondering whether Senator McCain would inherit Bush-era tensions between neo-conservatives keen to assertively promote democracy, and those taking a more pragmatic approach. 'If he is struggling to manage his campaign now, one wonders how he is going to keep various conservative forces in line once he is in office,' said one Republican insider. 'He could find himself fighting the old Bush battles.'