COLUMBIA, S.C. -- In their final scheduled debate, U.S. Rep. John Spratt moved aggressively to portray state Sen. Mick Mulvaney as a libertarian with "extreme" anti-government views.
The Indian Land Republican returned fire Friday over an hour-long ETV debate, saying Spratt is no longer the independent-minded congressman people remember from the 1990s, but a top supporter of the Democratic agenda.
The recorded debate will air at 1 p.m. Sunday on ETV affiliates across the state.
Spratt took a sharper tone than in two previous debates, interrupting Mulvaney at various points to cite economic figures and take issue with his opponent's claims.
At one point, Spratt referred to Gov. Mark Sanford as "your good friend" and pressed Mulvaney to explain past descriptions of himself as a libertarian.
Noting Mulvaney's vote in 2007 against expanding a statewide children's health insurance program, Spratt called it "the reason I have trouble taking you seriously."
Afterward, Mulvaney told reporters there's a reason Spratt is taking a harder line.
"That's 'cause he's losing," Mulvaney said. "It's the reason you saw the ads change. He was running a positive message. He started losing."
Not true, responded Spratt, saying he was just tired of listening to Mulvaney's distortions.
"I just decided I can't sit here and take these things," he said. "I can't wait until the next question (in the debate) to correct the record."
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