Reporting Jim Armstrong
BOSTON (CBS) – It’s the night before the big WBZ debate and volunteers at Senator Scott Brown’s Boston campaign office are working the phones, checking in with voters statewide.
Meantime at Elizabeth Warren’s Somerville headquarters the focus is on Thursday night’s debate. People working the phone banks here are reminding voters to watch WBZ for what will be Warren’s first-ever televised debate.
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Asked if she was nervous as the debate nears, the democrat responded, “Of course I’m nervous, this is a big deal. I’m not a politician. I’ve never run for public office.”
Warren toured the WBZ studios this week to prepare for the debate; Senator Brown had to skip his tour in order to stay in Washington, D.C. But when he was in Boston on Monday, he seemed to be lowering expectations for his performance.
“[Warren] is representing Harvard,” said Sen. Brown. “She’s been lecturing there and been getting paid a lot of money to argue and lecture for decades. So, it’s going to be a formidable challenge and I hope I can step up to the challenge.”
The debate comes just a day after the latest poll results show a race very much in flux. Momentum had been behind Warren in recent days, but the latest UMass Lowell poll, released late Wednesday night, shows Brown back in the lead. Among registered voters, Brown leads 50% to 44%. When likely voters respond, Brown’s lead shrinks to 49% to Warren’s 45%. The poll has a 5% margin of error and was conducted by telephone from September 13th – 17th.
Those numbers may well come up during the WBZ debate. It will be moderated by WBZ’s Political Analyst Jon Keller, who expects the candidates “will try to keep it together and not lose their cool.”
“At the same time they want to rattle each other’s cages,” Keller explains. “After all this time spent sparring from a distance, to be in the same physical proximity, just feet from each other, just separated by one hapless moderator, the temptation to really go at it, I think, is going to be very strong.”
Keller promises the debate format will allow for the candidates to interact directly with each other, to ask each other questions, and to bring up issues that otherwise might not have been addressed.
Do you have a question you would like to ask the candidates? Send it to Jon Keller.