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The Hiller Instinct

Senate debate: Do's and don'ts

If polls could talk, here's what they'd say:

despite enormous advantages, Ed Markey still hasn't sealed the deal.

And Gabriel Gomez isn't fading away.

So what do they need to do tonight to improve their positions?

My advice to Gomez: unseal yourself. Leave the trap of your talking points and tell us more about who you are and what you want to do.

For example, you say you're a new Republican. But new how? And how does your newness fit the Grand Old Party?

Control tower to Ed Markey: turn off your auto pilot, and show us some real emotion.

Debating and campaigning, you've been stiff and uncertain.

So give us more person and less party.

Too frequently you sound like the enclycopedia of the Democratic Party, and some of that is stale.

Whenever there are "do's," there are usually "don'ts"...and this debate is no exception.

both these candidates have weaknesses they want to avoid.

In the last debate, Gomez hurt himself with a question that boomeranged, making him look silly.

So he must be better prepared.

What Gomez really needs is to think big, not small!

Sarcastic remarks earn more snickers than votes.

Tonight, let's hear about some ideas, and maybe even a vision.

Ed Markey should promise himself not to say the words "look it" even once. He's already used the phrase too much. And, above all else, Markey should be energetic, engaged, and enthusiastic. Then we'll all be sure he hasn't fallen asleep.

So far, neither Gomez nor Markey has been a star debater...but a standout performance by either candidate tonight could close the race down, or turn it around.