Stevens and his rival trade blows in Alaska as trial drags on

Sen. Ted Stevens and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich are trading ad blows this week in a pair radio spots in the race for U.S. Senate.

First, the Stevens campaign accused Begich of talking out of both sides of his mouth. Stevens' commercial says Begich promised Alaskans he'd battle to open ANWR, then told a popular left-leaning blog he'd be "cautious" about drilling and would wait until "the environment is right."

Begich responded Monday with a commercial of his own, talking directly to Stevens, who is in court this week fighting federal corruption charges. In the clip, Begich says he strongly supports opening ANWR.

"Senator, with all due respect, doubletalk isn't something you should be accusing anyone of right now," Begich says in the clip.

The fight comes in the middle of a bizarre election season, with Stevens stuck a good part of the time in trial in Washington, D.C., and Gov. Sarah Palin soaking up much of the political spotlight in her bid for the vice presidency.

The ads mark the first time Stevens and Begich have directly attacked each other. Until now, the candidates left the barbs to their respective state political parties.

The flare-up also comes at time when a D.C.-based group that works to get Democrats elected is flooding Alaska airwaves with commercials hammering Stevens.

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