The ever-competitive Virginia governor's race showed its fierceness on Twitter today during a debate between Creigh Deeds (D) and Bob McDonnell (R).

The two candidates squared off in the the second of four scheduled debates this morning. Staff members for Deeds and McDonnell tweeted unusually strong attacks at each other during the event, underscoring the intensity of the campaign as Election Day nears.

Virginia's gubernatorial election had attracted significant national attention as political observers see it as a bellweather of the GOPs ability to stage a comeback in the 2010 midterm contests. As evidence, "Meet the Press" host David Gregory moderated today's debate in McClean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

McDonnell faced bad publicity after the contents of his graduate thesis were revealed to contain passages critical of working women and non-traditional families. The Republican, however, has been able to sustain a significant lead in the polls and a fundraising edge over Deeds.

During today's debate, members of McDonnell's staff tweeted under the former state Attorney General's account and state Sen. Deeds' campaign manager Joe Abbey shared live updated from his own account.
Here are some of the barbs from earlier on Thursday:

McDonnell staff: @CreighDeeds the astronomer...talks about "space"

Abbey: 1st question - @bobmcdonnell thesis - "working women / feminists are detrimental to society." Question what has changed?

A: @bobmcdonnell answer: a lot of my close friends are women

M: @CreighDeeds getting angry ~staff #vagov

A: @bobmcdonnell - "drinkable fuel" - not sure i like your green energy ideas

M: @CreighDeeds confuses audience, mass hysteria ~staff #vagov

A: I know [former governor] Mark Warner, I've worked for Mark Warner - @bobmcdonnell you are no Mark Warner

M: @CreighDeeds, you've really shared these concerns with @BarackObama? prove it ~staff #vagov

A: bob's insulted? no bob the working women and families are insulted by your record and your blueprint for va

M: Bob ends positive, @CreighDeeds ends angry - staff #vagov