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Keller @ Large: How Many Will Watch Debate With An Open Mind?

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Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Scott Brown. (Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Scott Brown. (Photos by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Tonight is the night for the first U.S. Senate debate, broadcast live at 7 p.m. here on CBS Boston.com, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and WBZ-TV, and just like you, I am eager to see and hear Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren debate their ideas.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

As the moderator, you have my word they will have maximum opportunity to show their stuff, to question each other, engage in direct exchanges, and otherwise demonstrate their persuasive skills.

But you, the voters, will have to do some work tonight too.

I will be asking each candidate to respond to the same question, but unless they totally ignore the actual question, I won’t be cross-examining them. That will be up to their opponent.

And it will be up to you to determine how well or poorly each candidate handled the question, how evasive they were or weren’t.

Sometimes when I see the political garbage some voters gladly swallow like it was hearty beef stew, I wonder at their ability to question authority and think for themselves.

And despite the scores of unfortunate e-mails I’ve received from partisans demanding that I excoriate the candidate they don’t like in the guise of a question, I won’t be doing that either. That also will be up to their opponent.

You are free to work up a good head of hate against either Brown or Warren if you choose to, but be advised that this is a fool’s errand.

Brown is a hard-working family man, a veteran with a long record as a dedicated, thoughtful public servant.

Warren is a well-liked teacher also devoted to her family, whose academic work has been distinguished by a concern for the world outside the ivory tower.

I have found them both highly professional and courteous to deal with, something that cannot always be said of political candidates around here.

So by all means, get the popcorn ready, mix up some punch, gather family and friends and enjoy tonight’s debate.

But also come prepared to keep an open mind, and to make the effort to fill it with the information the debate will offer you.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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