JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The attacks started early in the debate as Ronnie Musgrove, democrat and Roger Wicker, republican went toe to toe for an hour during Friday night's senatorial debate.
"Ronnie Musgrove has a problem with the truth."
"I take issue with the fact that you say I have a problem with telling the truth."
Five journalists representing television stations throughout the state asked the questions. The negative ads and attacks that have come to characterize this senatorial campaign came up twice during the debate. Like their ads, the candidates pointed to other reasons instead of themselves.
"Elections are tough. Choices are big this year. The stakes are very high, and frankly, that's why we're seeing so many negative ads," says Wicker.
"Let's just go ahead and concede that Roger and I can't do anything about all those third party ads on tv," says Musgrove.
In defending themselves, both said they tried to focus on the issues in the ads they produced.
On the issues, one of the first questions addressed the country's economic future.
The two were asked whether the government, in particular, republicans can be trusted with Americans money after eight years in control and the country now facing deeply-rooted financial problems.
In defense of his party, Wicker drew a comparison to the situation which implicated Musgrove.
"When I think of the economic scandal, I think of the Beef Scandal in Mississippi. Here's the similiarities corporate greed...and members of government getting too cozy with...swindlers," says Wicker.
But, Musgrove countered back.
"Now, there Roger goes again trying to make something political out of this, Roger knows I had nothing to do with that."
Economic recovery on the coast was also addressed, in particular, specific plans to get more money flowing to South Mississippi.
The two actually agreed on one condition that must be in place to help stabilize economic conditions in South Mississippi.
"We've got to have multi-perils insurance," says Musgrove.
"I think we can agree with multi-perils," says Wicker.
When it came to Iraq, not only did the candidates focus on victory abroad they also touched on how to bring victory back home.
"Victory also includes taking care of veterans. We have to take care of our veterans," says Musgrove.
"I worked across the aisle to help usher some of the largest benefits for veterans in U.S. history," says Wicker.