|Front-runners John McCain and Mitt Romney attacked each other's conservative credentials as they fought for their party's top spot during the final showdown before the Super Tuesday contests. |
The sharpest exchange in the debate came when Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, was asked about the McCain campaign's charge that he once said he favored a strict timetable for removing troops from Iraq.
Romney has consistently denied ever having backed a timetable and said McCain was taking a small portion of a quote out of context.
"It's simply wrong," Romney said. "By the way, raising it a few days before the Florida primary, when there was very little time for me to correct the record, falls in the kind of dirty tricks that Ronald Reagan would have found reprehensible."
| John Edwards: Time for me to step aside|
Edwards won't give immediate endorsement
Formerly backs McCain
Ready to move with $1.7 trillion in windfall profits from oil-price spike