(CNN) – After a pair of confrontational debates between Sen. Scott Brown and his Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, the two candidates toned it down slightly Wednesday for their third faceoff.
The debate focused largely on issues of taxes and the economy, with Warren asserting Brown favored big banks over middle class families, and Brown volleying back that his bipartisan record in the Senate showed he was on the side of working voters.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
Absent from the debate was any mention of Warren's claims to Native American heritage, which have become a flashpoint in the Massachusetts Senate race. Brown has charged Warren with being less than transparent about why she was listed as Native American when she was a professor at Harvard Law School. Warren has countered by saying Brown is attacking her family.
That topic was brought up during the previous debates, but did not arise Wednesday during a matchup that focused mostly on economic issues facing Massachusetts.
Warren, highlighting her support for lowering taxes on middle class families, asserted Brown was avoiding his own record on the issue.
"Sen. Brown doesn't want to talk about his voting record," Warren claimed. "He just wants to launch his attacks."
"America's middle class has just been getting hammered," Warren continued. "Washington doesn't work for them. Washington works for those who can hire an army of lobbyists and an army of lawyers."
Brown hit back, saying regulations supported by Warren were harming middle class earners.
"You talk about getting hammered, Professor Warren? I suggest you put down your own hammer," Brown said, referring to regulations on small businesses.
The two candidates also sparred on the costs of higher education, with Brown asserting Warren's salary during her tenure at Harvard was inflated.
"Obviously, the cost of education is out of sight," Brown said, adding: "One of the largest driving forces behind the high cost of education is administrative costs. And as we know, Professor Warren makes about $350,000 to teach one course."
Warren rebutted by pointing to her own education at a commuter college, saying she was "proud to have made it to where I've made it in my profession. But let's be clear: I paid $50 a semester because America was investing in public colleges and universities at the time. That's what we need to do now."
During the debate, Warren was calculated in her attempts to link Brown to national Republicans, including Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist. She also mentioned Mitt Romney at several points, keenly aware that Massachusetts' Republicans are generally more moderate than the GOP's national figures.
"Republicans have a vision: cut taxes at the top and let the chips fall where they may for everybody else. I think we can do better than that," Warren said at one point in the debate.
Two polls released this week indicated the race in Massachusetts remains in a dead heat. One poll, from Western New England University, showed Warren edging Brown 50%-45%. Another survey, from WBUR, showed Brown with the advantage, netting the support of 47% of likely Massachusetts voters compared to 43% for Warren. Margins in both polls were within the sampling error.
Democrats really don't understand economics, they don't understand that the more regulations they impose on a business the less a business can function and those regulations make it hard to hire which result in unemployment.
Democrats truly have no understanding of all the expenses it takes to run a business or Democrats do understand it and are trying to convince the middle class that it is Republicans hurting the middle class by wanting to destroy the middle class to help the rich get richer when in reality it is their imposing of regulations that hurt the middle class.
Bipartisan? How about obstructiomist and voting for the most filibusters in our Senate history so no jobs or economic recovery or even veteran aid bills could pass.
I think Republicans, especially Romney, think the word "bipartisan" means taking two postions on the same issue and going back and forth on whichever position makes the audience before you like you more for the moment. Sane voters know Romney is just a blatant liar who will say anything in desperation for power.
The debate focused largely on issues of taxes and the economy, with Warren asserting Brown favored big banks over middle class families...
What a boring, uninspiring and pathetic line the Democrats have all gotten together to use in 2012. Hey, I know! How about some real answers for the failed Obama Administration and a plan out of this mess? Nahhh, don't worry about reality. Apparently the political advisers have convinced you all that American voters in 2012 are all stupid.
I think Brown is doing a good job and hope he wins. He has not voted a straight party line which is refreshing. Warren adds to the old school liberalism of Ted Kennedy.
This Warren clown thinks she needs to pick the winners and losers and not let the free market work. She's an overpaid clown at Harvard. $350K for what? She's just milking the school and inflating costs. Of course she thinks we need to dump even more into schools. I guess she wants to $800,000 to teach one course.
We don't need this far left idiot in the Senate. Don't screw the country over Massachusetts. Leave her at Harvard so they can overpay this leftist and not us taxpayers.
I watched the debate and Warren mopped the floor with Brown. In a debate where the issues were finally discussed, Brown really looked weak and untrustworthy.
Does Boston really matter?
A sad, sad country that we have become, especially in light of what we have gone through in the last hundred years.....
where's the "compassionate" conservatives now? where's those bleeding-heart liberals?
We have just become one great big, endless, XBox game.
Mindless, soul-less children like Scott Brown are making the laws that govern our lives?
I think pretty boy is not used to being booed again and again.
Good for Warren to tie him to some of the twit's plans (whatever they might be).
Thanks to Warren.......for pointing out all of Obama's shortcomings, in regards to the middle class........who ARE totally threatened by the dictatorship of the Democratic Party!