[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/01/22/sc.debate.anlysis/art.2114.obama.hill.gi.jpg caption=" Barack Obama jabbed Hillary Clinton for serving on Wal-Mart's board; she ripped him for ties to a "slum landlord."]MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) - The gloves came off quickly Monday night as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama traded blows just days before the South Carolina primary, and two weeks before voters in 24 Super Tuesday states weigh in on this wide-open presidential contest.
Former Sen. John Edwards, who has yet to win an early contest, threw his own punches but was unable to firmly position himself in the middle of the Clinton-Obama scrum. It probably worked to his advantage, because he was never really put on the defensive like Obama nor appeared as aggressive as Clinton.
But it might be too late for Edwards to turn around his campaign in what is shaping up to be a two-candidate race.