Civility reigned when it opened, but in the end a torrent of angry exchanges ruled the Democratic Presidential Debate in South Carolina. It was all very personal, with Barack Obama accusing Hillary and Bill Clinton of misrepresenting his statements and past votes.
Senator Barack Obama said during the debate, "When Senator Clinton or President Clinton says that I wasn't opposed to the war from the start or says it's a fairy tale that I opposed the war, that is simply not true."
But Mrs. Clinton gave it right back saying, "It is sometimes difficult to understand what Senator Obama has said, because as soon as he is confronted on it, he says that's not what he meant."
Former President Bill Clinton had been hitting the campaign trail for his wife, and accusing Obama of supporting past Republican economic policies and using questionable campaign practices. This is causing some to question whether he is too outspoken, outshining the candidate, his wife. Mrs. Clinton tried to put that to rest last night.
Clinton argued, "You talked about Ronald Reagan being a transformative political leader. I did not mention his name. You…"
Obama countered, "Your husband did."
Clinton said, "Well, I'm here; he's not. And I --"
"Okay. Well, I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes" said Obama.
Meantime, South Carolina-born John Edwards, who lately has fallen to a distant third in some polls, seemed to rise above it all.
Presidential Candidate John Edwards said, "Are there three people in this debate, not two? I also want to know on behalf of the people of South Carolina, this kind of squabbling, how many children is this fighting going to get healthcare?"
The vote is scheduled for Saturday in South Carolina before Democrats join Republicans, campaigning in Florida for next week's vote there.