In a blistering face-off, experienced Marco Rubio and novice Patrick Murphy repeatedly attacked each other in the first of the two scheduled U.S. Senate debates ahead of Election Day, the Miami Herald reported.
While Rubio was his slick self, the Democratic challenger went on an attack mode lashing out at the Republican for still supporting Donald Trump despite umpteen controversies. He also criticized the senator for his absenteeism during his first term.
Rubio, on the other hand, highlighted Murphy's "record of doing absolutely nothing" in his first two terms in Congress.
Murphy, who has been behind in all polls since June and even lacks recognition, sounded repetitive at times, but overall held his nerve against the seasoned Rubio, who was earlier in race for the Republican presidential candidature.
Both the candidates two touched various topics including immigration, foreign policy, gun control, climate change and healthcare.
Rubio spent a good amount of time explaining why he was still supporting Trump despite all the revelations against him. Though he marked Trump as "not the most inspirational choice" he also added that the Democrats picked Hillary Clinton who "repeatedly violated federal law" and "has a 30-year record of scandal and outrage."
"It's pretty clear Donald Trump is not my first choice or even my tenth choice to be the nominee of the Republican Party; 14 million voters in the Republican primaries chose differently," Rubio said.
"One of the reasons why I changed my mind and ran for reelection is because I know that no matter who wins this election, you are going to need people in the United States Senate willing to stand up to the next president," he added.
After repeated salvo about how the senator did not support women or stand up for them, a frustrated Rubio brought up the episode where 33-year-old Murphy, was seen with his arm around a woman, appearing to grab her breast.
The picture had gone viral.
"You're the one that posted a picture four years ago on Facebook of you groping a woman. That's inappropriate behavior," Rubio said.
Murphy, who appeared taken aback, immediately responded, "Let's just talk about Donald Trump again, right?!"
Murphy's campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen later clarified via email that the photo was of "a former girlfriend at dinner." She also called Rubio's attack "an act of desperation."
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