Speed Reads

If You Can't Say Anything Nice…

The most awkward part of last night's Kansas Senate debate

The most awkward part of last night's Kansas Senate debate

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts and independent challenger Greg Orman met last night for their final debate in the contentious Kansas Senate race — where even an invitation to say something nice about an opponent was turned into a chance to keep on attacking.

Throughout the debate, Roberts repeatedly questioned Orman's business dealings, including his involvement with government grants on some projects. Meanwhile, Orman kept up his theme of calling Roberts an entrenched politician who is part of the problem in Washington.

Finally, in the last question of the night before the closing statements, the moderator asked each candidate to say something good about the other. Orman went first.

"I appreciate Sen. Roberts' service to our country; I appreciate his service in the Marines," said Orman. "And I will have to say that every time I've had an opportunity to talk privately with the senator, he's been a gentleman with a great sense of humor,” he said.

This it was Roberts' turn to say something nice about Orman — and he simply returned to his attack themes from the rest of the debate.

"Well, semper fi, Greg — Marines take the hill," Roberts began. "I would say that you are a very well-dressed opponent. I admire your accumulation of wealth.... You have a very nice smile — and you're for the Royals."

Watch the video below, courtesy of the local NBC affiliate in Topeka, with the key moment at the 50:35 mark. --Eric Kleefeld