WASHINGTON (CNN) – Much of Thursday's campaign coverage gave way to non-stop reporting on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto - but that didn't seem to take the edge off the rough-and-tumble of the race.
One of Barack Obama's senior strategists, David Axelrod, made remarks which he later seemed to back away from that appeared to link the former Pakistani prime minister's death with Hillary Clinton's vote on the Iraq war. "I mean, she was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq, which we would submit is one of the reasons why we were diverted from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Al Qaeda who may have been players in this event today. So that's a judgment she'll have to defend," said Axelrod.
Joe Biden took a swipe at fellow Democrat Bill Richardson for calling on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to step down: "That's like Bill saying 'Bring home all the troops in Iraq in three months.' It's not practical."
And John McCain said of Rudy Giuliani's post-9/11 experience as mayor of New York: "I don't know how that provides one the credentials to address national security issues."
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney downplayed the value of McCain's own national security expertise, one of his campaign's main themes. "Well, if foreign policy experience were the measure of electing a president, we'd just go to the State Department and pick up one of the thousands and thousands of people who've spent their whole lives in foreign policy - and frankly, becoming United States senator does not make one a foreign policy expert either," the former Massachusetts governor told CNN.
– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand