Beverly Perdue's primary promise came back tonight.
Perdue responded by saying the ads were not negative, since they did not attack McCrory's character.
"The treasurer and I were so much alike we had begun to attack each other personally," she said.
McCrory took repeated exception to a Perdue ad that called him "a real danger" to the middle class.
"I think the ad is not a negative ad," she said. "It's not about the mayor, it's about the mayor's policy."
Both candidates said they were not happy about third-party ads from groups such as the Republican Governors Association or the Alliance for North Carolina, but neither would call for them to stop airing.
Perdue said an ad showing her pushing a "status quo" button was "silly" and "kind of funny."
"The thing that bothers me about the ad is that the ... woman who is playing me has such a bad hairdo," she said.