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With time running out for the candidates to make their case to voters, every exchange presented an opportunity to score political points.
Here are some of the testiest moments of the debate, which was moderated by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, on issues large and small:
Obama on the Ballot
Tillis, like many Republicans across the country, has worked to make his race a referendum on the unpopular president's policies, and seized upon President Obama's recent comment on "policies on the ballot" to make his point.
Hagan, who touted her ranking as the nation's most moderate senator, shot back at Tillis for nationalizing the race.
"Speaker Tillis wants to make this race about the president," she said. "But this race is about is going to represent North Carolina in the US Senate."
"You know, when you vote with the president 96 percent of the time, you represent the president's policies--the policies that are going to be on the ballot in November," Tillis responded.
"He wants to talk about percentages. I want to talk about percentages," Hagan answered. "A hundred percent of the time, Speaker Tillis' policies have hurt North Carolina."
24 Broken Promises
Tillis has focused on Obamacare throughout the race, and the debate was no exception. While Hagan listed several changes she would make to Obamacare, Tillis blasted her for telling North Carolinians they could keep their health insurance plans.
"Senator Hagan promised the people of North Carolina 24 different times, if you like your doctor, you can keep it--if you like your healthcare, you can keep it," Tillis said. "We know that promise is false."
The ISIS Threat
Republicans around the country, including Tillis, have blamed Democrats for failing to prevent the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
"They've failed the American people and made American less safe and secure," Tillis said.
In her response, Hagan blasted Tillis for criticizing the president's response without providing an alternative.
"He is waffling on these issues, he is spineless on what he would do to take ISIS out," she said.
The Tillis campaign has accused Hagan of missing 27 of 50 Senate Armed Services Committee hearings since 2012.
But during the debate, Tillis instead claimed the freshman Democrat missed more than half of the hearings for the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
Hagan was quick to bring up the mistake.
"Let me clarify something ... I am not on the Foreign Affairs Committee. I serve on the Armed Services Committee," she said quickly, before Tillis could correct himself. "I am well informed on these issues," she added, referring to the threat of ISIS.
Despite the mistake, Tillis continued his attack.
"I wonder how much more information I'd have if my Senator from North Carolina who sits on the Armed Services Committee would show up for work," he said. "More than half the time, she had to be somewhere. I'd like to know where she was."
In the first debate, Democrats accused Tillis of talking down to Hagan when he suggested she check her math on a teacher pay increase passed by the state legislature.
But it was Hagan who challenged Tillis' reading ability Tuesday when he decried Democrats' focus on paycheck fairness as "campaign gimmicks."
"Speaker Tillis, I think you need to read reports," she said. "Women in North Carolina earn 82 cents on the dollar. I didn't raise my two daughters to think they were worth 82 cents on the dollar."
ABC's Erin Dooley contributed to this report.