PHILADELPHIA (CNN) – The night fittingly began with a reference to "Rocky" in his fictional hometown, as the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night at times took on the feel of a heavyweight fight.
Sen. Barack Obama, who this week said he would sharpen attacks on frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton, first called their differences “overhyped”. He joked, “I think this has been the most hyped fight since Rocky fought Apollo Creed, although the amazing thing is, I'm Rocky in this situation.”
Moments later, the tone changed as he launched the first of a series of candidate attacks on Clinton, claiming of the race, “I think it requires us to be honest about the challenges that we face. It does not mean, I think, changing positions whenever it's politically convenient.”
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards also sharpened his attacks on the New York Democrat, criticizing Clinton for her stands on Iraq, Iran and Social Security.
The Democratic presidential candidates next square off November 15 at CNN's debate in Las Vegas.
– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk