Obama Parries 2 Clintons in Harsh, Personal Debate

Debate turns ugly as Barack decries tag-team
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2008 6:31 AM CST
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks during a Democratic presidential debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Monday, Jan. 21, 2008. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Last night's acrimonious Democratic presidential debate saw Barack Obama confront an increasingly aggressive Hillary Clinton, reports the Washington Post, but the Illinois senator was really countering two Clintons at once. Over the past two weeks Bill has led the charge against Obama's credibility and record, most notoriously with his "fairy tale" remark, and last night Obama retorted, "I can't tell who I'm running against sometimes."

The civility of the previous debate went out the door as the two leading candidates traded personal attacks—Obama castigated Clinton for serving on the board of Wal-Mart, while she brought up his relationship with an indicted Chicago slumlord. The former president was the elephant in the room, however; at one point Hillary Clinton had to say, "This campaign is not about our spouses."