Saturday night’s presidential debate in New Hampshire had been an acidic contest almost from the opening bell, but it took a particularly nasty turn about a half hour in when Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul shared a bitter exchange about military service.
The spat was triggered by a past comment of Paul’s labeling Gingrich a “chicken hawk” because he didn’t serve in Vietnam. Paul served as a flight surgeon during the conflict, having been drafted.
"I think people who don't serve when they could and they get three or four or even five deferments aren't -- they -- they have no right to send our kids off to war, and -- and not be even against the wars that we have," Paul said. "I'm trying to stop the wars, but at least, you know, I went when they called me up."
One thing you don’t do in Republican debates (or really, any U.S. debate) is accuse another candidate of dishonoring military service. Gingrich was particularly incensed.