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The Hiller Instinct

First debate between Gomez and Markey

They were on the same stage, and they answered the same questions, but I wasn't always sure they were in the same debate.

Ed Markey and Gabriel Gomez talked through each other and past each other, but rarely to each other.

They were in a political parallel universe.

You want the candidates to talk about issues? You got it. They tackled health care, gun control, birth control, foreign policy, immigration...and plenty of others.

The takeway was a snapshot of their campaign: Ed Markey is a Massachusetts liberal, you always know where he stands.

So Gomez attacked, trying to paint Markey as more talk than action. It backfired.

Gabriel Gomez said, "The reality is, over the last 20 years, you have not authored a single piece of legislation that has been signed into law."

Ed Markey quickly replied, "Mr. Gomez, you couldn't be more wrong - just in the last couple of years I passed a bill that created the requirement of a plan to find a cure for Alzheimers - that's the law- that's my bill."

Gabriel Gomez said, "The fact remains Mr. Congressman, in the past 20 years, you have not authorized a single piece of legslation that has been passed into law."

Ed Markey said, "He can keep throwing out these statements that are completely inaccurate, I'm the author of the law - because of the flight attendents and pilots at logan airport, who told me that they were freightened that they weren't screening the cargo of passenger planes after 9/11 - I'm the author of that law."

Gabriel Gomez needed a breakthrough to change the dynamic of this race.

All Ed Markey needed was a tie, to protect his lead. Markey did much better than that, with a clear win.

He was more prepared and more in command....all of which made him more senatorial.

But Markey wasn't the only winner tonight...so were all the viewers.

Because this debate ended just before the Bruins game began.