Of course, as a result of the bare-knuckle environment, things can get ugly, as they did for John McCain today.
Even before the Michigan primary voting ends, surrogates for Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) organized a conference call with reporters to push back against an incendiary flier that was passed out to members of the South Carolina media today.
The flier, which came from a group called "Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain" and attacked the Arizona Senator's time spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was roundly condemned by a group of McCain supporters that including former P.O.W. Orson Swindle as well as South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell and state Attorney General Henry McMaster.
The flier was distributed to about 100 local journalists, and apparently claims that McCain "turned on his fellow POWs to save his own skin," according to a statement from fellow POW Orson Swindle:
"Nothing could be further from the truth. I know because I was there.
"The truth is, the North Vietnamese offered John McCain early release, and he refused. He stuck to the time honored military code of first-in, first-out, and stood by his fellow POWs until the end -- even at the risk of his own life as he was severely injured."