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In their first formal event all on one stage, the seven Democrats vying to succeed Edward J. Markey in Congress, together conveyed a clear message to an audience at Watertown Middle School on Tuesday: their positions on many issues are liberal and they are very polite.
At the cordial, policy-heavy forum that sometimes delved into granular, wonkish detail, each candidate worked to softly differentiate himself or herself from the others on the crowded stage, but none used sharp words or personal attacks in the process.
The almost two-hour event saw the candidates address issues from the environment to Syria to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance to entitlement reform. Despite the low-key vibe, two issues elicited particularly passionate responses from candidates: the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and gun control.