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Instant scorecard: Who won the debate?

Posted by Joanna Weiss  October 29, 2013 09:15 PM

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Round three of Connolly v. Walsh is over. Twitter is on fire. The spin machines are cranking. So to sort through what we watched last night, we turned to some of our favorite pundits. Here are their takes on last night's winners and losers. Add yours to the comments, or tweet them @BostonComment. (And to see the candidates talking more casually, check out "My Dinner With Larry," our campaign mini-films.)

John Connolly won another debate - but not necessarily the election - on the same, old anti-union points. He lost leadership points when he ducked rather than say if he would vote yes or no on an Eastie casino.
Joan Vennochi, @Joan_Vennochi
Globe columnist

Debate was a draw. Connolly has been consistently good in these forums whereas Walsh has improved markedly. But neither candidate overwhelmed the other tonight. This final debate isn't likely to move the serially undecided voting bloc.
Peter Ubertaccio, @ProfessorU
Political science professor, Stonehill College

I think Walsh won for most-improved and Connolly won for most honest answer, saying he wouldn't want a casino next door to his house. And I think it's interesting that, in this race, you win voters over (or attempt to) by readily admitting how racist Boston is.
Hilary Sargent, @lilsarg and Chartgirl blog

Walsh needed to convince skeptical voters that he isn’t in the pocket of labor unions. He failed. Connolly needed to draw distinctions between himself and Walsh without coming across like a sourpuss. He succeeded, for the most part.
Lawrence Harmon, Globe Columnist
"John Connolly Makes a Better Case"

I gave it to Connolly. He was clearer, sharper, and more focused -- except on the East Boston casino vote, where he was, um, fuzzier, less sharp, and more evasive. Walsh is not a very good debater, truth be told. And his answer on the arbitration legislation makes little or no sense.
Scot Lehigh, @GlobeScotLehigh
Globe columnist

Walsh projected more confidence in this debate than he has in the previous two. But when faced with tough questions — such as whether he can stand up to unions — he just turned testy. That’s a side few of us have seen before. And one I suspect few want to see again.
Farah Stockman, @fstockman
Globe columnist, "Where Was Mr. Nice Guy?"

Memo to Marty Walsh: Don't ask your opponent in the closing moments of a widely televised debate to name three things he did to create jobs. John Connolly definitely had the better performance, but this debate surely won't settle the race.
Dante Ramos, @danteramos
Globe deputy editorial page editor

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weiss.jpegBoston.comment is an exchange for ideas about Boston and beyond, brought to you by the Boston Globe editorial page and edited by Globe columnist Joanna Weiss. We're the sponsor of's #LabDebates and the creator of the Choose Your Own Adventure mayoral game.

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