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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hot and cold running candidates

Victory is in the eye of the beholder in last night's debate among the four Democrats vying for the right to fill the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy. And a lot of that depends on the gender and style of that beholder.

Attorney General Martha Coakley was the cool front runner. Calm, poised, solid answers and good eye contact with the camera and voters. A prosecutor making her pitch to the jury.

Rep. Mike Capuano was the hot insider. Wearing his passion and his congressional experience like a badge of honor, he didn't so much make eye contact as leap into the camera, telling would-be voters he's already doing the job.

It was one of the first things Mrs. O.L. noted. That observation became a trend with Joan Vennochi's analysis.

As for Alan Khazei. Well, his father is a doctor and he opposes casino gambling. The former is interesting, the latter irrelevant to the duties of a United States senator because the question of how many casinos, if any, is something to be decided at the state level.

Of course Khazei is obviously appealing to the vocal group of casino foes on the left who vote in Democratic primaries, so maybe not as irrelevant as it seems.

Steve Pagliuca? He knows congressional service is not rocket science. But he also agreed with Capuano so much that you have to wonder why he isn't running the other guy's campaign.

This was the first broad exposure for the four wannabes and quite possibly the last with no more televised debates planned. If they are the lasting impressions (doubtful, since the barrage of Coakley and Capuano ads have yet to come), Democratic voters may think Coakley needs to dial it up a few notches -- and Capuano needs to bring it down from 11.

The other guys? Khazei's outsider credentials and anti-casino stands could resonate. But enough to catch lightning in a bottle?

Pagliuca's best shot is green: continuing to empty his wallet and hoping for a hot Celtics start.

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