Those expecting to see another night of on-stage fireworks between Massachusetts Senatorial candidates Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren are out of luck. On Tuesday evening, Brown said that he believed a final debate with his challenged was neither necessary nor practical with only a week to go before the election. Plus, he has a bus tour to attend to. "With only days remaining in the campaign, and with a long-planned bus tour kicking off Thursday through Election Day that will take Scott Brown to every corner of the Commonwealth, our calendar simply cannot accommodate a rescheduling of this fourth debate and the planning and preparation that would go into it," said campaign manager Jim Barnett in a statement. "Senator Brown is pleased to have participated in three major televised debates, and regrets that Professor Warren refused two additional earlier debate opportunities that he accepted."
Brown's backing out comes after both campaigns scrambled to reschedule the debate which had originally been scheduled for Tuesday but was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. The Warren campaign was quick to paint Brown's exit from the final debate as her opponent running from the truth. "It is unfortunate voters will not have the chance to hear from both candidates on the important issues facing Massachusetts," said Warren's campaign manager Mindy Myers in a statement. "Unfortunately but not surprisingly, Scott Brown is again ducking questions about his record voting on the side of big oil and billionaires and against equal pay for equal work, against a pro-choice Supreme Court Justice and against insurance coverage for birth control. Elizabeth agreed to additional debates that Brown refused in Worcester and the South Coast as well as a forum hosted by the NAACP. Scott Brown doesn't want to have to talk about his record -- plain and simple."
Okay, we get it. Both candidates scheduled debates that their opponents refused to show up for. In a way, you can't blame either of them. The debates so far have been tense and sometimes nasty insult-fests that have highlighted the worst of the increasingly negative race. The second debate, when Brown snapped at Warren, "I'm not a student in your classroom," was probably the worst, though the third had some aggressive swipes, as well.
The Brown-Warren race couldn't be closer. The latest Boston Globe poll shows the candidates tied at 47 percent, a stark difference from the paper's September poll that showed Brown trailing Warren by five points. Other polls show Warren leading by a point or two. As such, the consortium hosting the debate expressed regret that we wouldn't see both candidates on stage once more before November 6. "This is very disappointing for all the citizens who will not have an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates a week before this important election," said WGBH executive producer Linda Polach. At least it's not the only disappointing thing to happen so far this week.