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A nasty debate in the Nutmeg State

The rematch between Connecticut's incumbent Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and his Republican opponent, Ambassador Tom Foley, is getting personal.
Tom Foley, Dannel P. Malloy
Incumbent Democrat Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, left, and Republican candidate for governor Tom Foley debate at the University of Connecticut, Thursday, Oct. 2,...

The rematch between Connecticut's vulnerable incumbent Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and his 2010 Republican opponent, businessman and Ambassador Tom Foley,  is getting personal.  Thursday the two faced-off in their third debate with both men trading accusations and defending their integrity.

"Tom has attacked my integrity several times tonight and I've kept quiet about it," Malloy said. "But that’s not the way we treat one another."

Malloy told his rival that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones and in what sounded more like a public airing of his campaign's opposition research, Malloy unleashed a string of attacks on Foley's ethics.

The Democratic governor cited his Republican opponent's $16,000 fine from an election commission, and slammed Foley for  failing to disclose a prior arrest to the FBI.  Malloy also says Foley did not tell the truth about repeatedly striking another car, with two women inside of it, driving at fifty miles per hour.

"People don’t always do what you do, Tom," Malloy said as he continued lay into Foley.  "They don’t bankrupt companies. They don’t lay off workers. They don’t treat people the way you’ve treated them in the past.”

Foley dismissed Malloy's assault on his character as incidents from twenty or thirty years ago.  He painted Malloy as a corrupt former city mayor who made a better prosecutor than he does a governor, but he also tried to refocus the debate back to key differences on issues and even calling for a truce. 

"You repeatedly have not been truthful in the things you’ve said about me, including tonight," Foley responded.

"I think leadership is being truthful," Foley said.  "We can either call a truce on this stuff or we can keep it going governor.”

As he's done in previous debates, Foley also hammered away at the governor's record on taxes, education, crime and, on what Foley calls, an "overreaching" gun safety law in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

"The source of the problem in Newtown was a mental health issue," Foley explained.  "He had the opportunity to do something about that and he went off in a different direction.”

Malloy is considered to be one of the more vulnerable incumbent governors this year and the current polling shows him trailing Foley by an average of four points according to Real Clear Politics.  Unlike 2010 when a highly contested raced for the open U.S. Senate seat drove turnout and sucked out the oxygen from the governor's race, Malloy and Foley have the spotlight to themselves in what's becomes an increasingly bitter campaign.