The niceties aside, the latest gubernatorial debate quickly took on the tone of the attack ads being aired against Democrat Maggie Hassan and Republican Ovide Lamontagne.
Hassan criticized Lamontagne for supporting House Speaker William O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon), a Tea Party member she said was responsible for making New Hampshire the butt of jokes on Comedy Central's "Daily Show."
She questioned Lamontagne's positions, and what federal funds he would reject, as she said he once did as chairman of the state Board of Education in the mid-1990s.
Lamontagne, in turn, repeatedly faulted Hassan for votes she made as a former state senator.
"Maggie's approach is to tax and spend," he said. "I refuse to allow a tax or fee increase over the next two years."
Hassan has vowed to veto an income or sales tax. And she pressed him on his professed austerity over the next two years, saying it would result in significant cuts to government services that are important for residents and businesses.
Hassan accused Lamontagne of "still pushing the same out-dated ideas" he was 20 years ago, when he first ran for office.
Lamontagne accused Hassan of being out of touch with taxpayers in the state. He criticized his opponent for "Maggiecare," a bill she supported as a senator, and a bill she said was passed with Republicans and Democrats because of its focus on transparency and accountability.
Continuing opposition to the Affordable Care Act, Lamontagne said it underscored what people do not want: more federal bureaucracy. Earlier in the day, Lamontagne announced a health care policy agenda.
"The Affordable Care Act puts the government and the IRS between you and your providers," he said during the debate.
Countering his call to be the governor for everyone, leaving his party label at the door of the corner office, Hassan accused Lamontagne of not faithfully respecting the rights of women to make their own health care decisions.