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Thursday Roundup: The Babe Factor; Abortion; Oh Yeah, Republicans

Wednesday night’s final Democratic debate yielded no turning point in the Senate race. Today many reporters focused largely on why there was no game changer.

Explosive Debate? Not Quite

If you tuned in expecting dynamite, you got a dud, according to Edward Mason and Hillary Chabot in the Boston Herald.

“The Democratic U.S. Senate candidates’ last best chance to sharply distinguish themselves before Tuesday’s primary election ended in a blur last night, in a largely uneventful final televised debate that featured more bickering than fireworks.”

In The Ring

The Globe’s Brian Mooney wrote that Coakley’s campaign strategy has remained successful through the final debate and suggested the tension between her challengers only helped.

Capuano and Pagliuca, meanwhile, verbally bludgeoned each other with insults, playing into Coakley’s run-out-the-clock strategy.

WBUR politics reporter Fred Thys distilled Capuano’s and Pagliuca’s recurring arguments, breaking down what the two challengers said to each other. Thys points out that while their bickering continued, Coakley “pretty much sailed through.”

Matt Viser’s and Andrea Estes’s report in the Globe stood in agreement with the debate analysis in the Herald and other New England news outlets.

The animosity between Capuano and Pagliuca, who were seated next to each other, was so pronounced that it overshadowed any attempts by Coakley’s challengers to make a dent in her front-runner status.

Globe Political columnist Derrick Z. Jackson concurred that the back-and-fourths between Capuano and Pagliuca played in Coakley’s favor, writing that “Capuano handed her the keys” to the Senate.

One can only imagine the smile inside Coakley’s head as Capuano and Pagliuca descended into a banter so banal that Pagliuca tried to nail Capuano as the Sarah Palin of the Democratic Party.

‘The Babe Factor’

While some of his colleagues at the Globe tallied their score cards with Capuano’s and Pagliuca’s jabs and uppercuts, columnist Alex Beam judged the beauty contest.

Right-thinking women everywhere have begged me not to write this column … But someone has to say it: Martha Coakley is a very good-looking woman and by far the handsomest candidate among the four Democrats running for Ted Kennedy’s seat.

Endorsements

Joan Vennochi reported in the Globe that only one member of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation has not yet endorsed a candidate. Vennochi sheds light on how endorsements in the state have played out in past elections, and the effect she calls “the old boy network.”

Abortion

In her report this morning on WBUR, Monica Brady-Myerov fact-checks what the candidates’ hyperbole about abortion and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment during the debate. Brady-Myerov explains the inaccuracy of Capuano’s assertion that he worries abortion will be sent to the “back alleys.”

Aside From The Democrats

Newsrooms more or less put all politics reporters on deck to cover the Democratic candidates this week, but this morning The MetroWest Daily News reserved space for a profile of Republican candidate Jack E. Robinson.

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