Marked by an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the arguments made or the issues raised.
The presidential debates often consist of ad hominem attacks rather than serious discussion of important issues.
Ad hominem in Latin means "to the man." It comes from the field of rhetoric (that is, speaking and writing), where it was first used to describe arguments that appeal to the listener's emotions and not to the intellect. The easiest way to do this is to engage in personal attacks against one's opponent. When debaters cannot justify their own positions or prove their opponents wrong, they may resort to ad hominem charges. Ad hominem arguments require neither truth nor logic to be effective. Consequently, the popularity of such arguments has never waned.