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That one stung: Looking back at presidential debate insults

(AP Photo)

And then there was one.

When a campaign-fatigued America wakes up Wednesday morning, there will be a new president in waiting.

Whether that incoming commander in chief is Democratic Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump, that person will have survived a campaign cycle that has been as vicious as a junkyard dogfight.

Through all the treks across the country, in towns big and small, each candidate has mocked and ripped into the other. No surprise, that spilled over in the three debates.

If the debates had been promoted as MMA matches, that would have been more accurate.

Here are some of the snipes that drew attention and figurative blood:

First debate, Sept. 26, Hempstead, NY

Clinton went after the billionaire for his clinging to the “racist birther lie” of President Obama’s nationality. Trump, who eventually acknowledged the president was born in the U.S., accused Clinton of having brought it up in the first place during the 2008 primary.

“When you try to act holier than thou, it really doesn’t work,” he said

Trump commented on Clinton’s brief absences from the campaign trail, once to recover from pneumonia, and another time to prepare for the debate.

She was not insulted.

Second debate, Oct. 9, St. Louis

“It’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country,” Clinton said, after Trump announced he would appoint a special prosecutor for her emails case.

Trump responded with quite the slam:

When Trump continued to hammer Clinton for her emails in the second debate, Clinton hit back. “OK, Donald. I know you’re into big diversion tonight. Anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you.”

Third debate, Oct. 19, Las Vegas

During Clinton’s response to entitlement reforms, she cracked that changes she would make would affect her tax bracket and that of Trump’s “assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it.”

He interrupted with a description of Clinton that nearly burned down Twitter in the immediate aftermath.

Trump also said he was surprised that Sen. Bernie Sanders “had signed on with the devil” when Sanders announced his support of Clinton’s candidacy. Some thought he meant Clinton, specifically, while others thought he meant Democrats, in general.

A campaign-fatigued nation can now move on.

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