Senator Scott Brown and challenger Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard University professor, met for their third debate on Wednesday night in Springfield, this time each appearing more at ease and both with their best performances to date.
Here are the five biggest moments of the hour-long debate moderated by Jim Madigan.
Discrepancies in Higher Education
Brown's biggest moment of the debate was when he cornered Warren over the issue of the rising costs of higher education. Warren, a professor at Harvard University, noted that Brown voted against a bill that sought to keep student loan interests low, because it would have closed a loophole for millionaires.
But Brown came back by saying the reason the costs of higher education are skyrocketing are because of administrative costs, like Warren's salary and benefits at Harvard.
"Professor Warren makes about $350,000 to teach one course," he said. "She got a zero interest loan from Harvard and gets free housing and other perks."
Warren and Brown differed on the ways they proposed to balance the budget. Warren said the government needed to take a "balanced" approach, which included the need for increased revenue as well as reduced spending. She said she would seek to keep taxes low for 98 percent of Americans by having the top 2 percent pay their "fair share."
Brown said repeatedly he would not raise taxes. On anyone. Instead, he said he would sell off all excess federal property and look for line-item vetoes in the budget.
"I've never voted for a tax increase," he said. "We can’t keep borrowing 42 cents on a dollar to pay our debts."
Another big moment in the debate was when the two candidates were asked about what they could do to help the middle class.
Warren started by saying the middle class has been "hammered" by an "army of lobbyists."
"When you talk about hammering the middle class, I suggest you put down the hammer beacuse it's your regulations and your policities that are hurting U.S. families," Brown said, calling Warren a "hired gun" who earned thousands of dollars for representing large companies in court.
Warren, without missing a beat, said she was glad Brown brought up regulations.
"I went to Washington to fight for a new consumer agency to fight to make sure people didn't get cheated on their mortgages, credit cards and student loans," she said. "And that baby agency has already returned more than half a billion dollars to consumers who have been cheated, and I'll continue to fight for that."
Warren had her biggest moment of the debate during a question about how each would stand up to protect women's issues. Warren said Brown's record showed that he's had exactly one chance to vote for equal pay for equal work and for health insurance coverage of birth control, and voted against them each time.
"Those are bad votes for women," she said. "The women of Massachusetts need a senator they can count on, not some of the time, but all of the time."
At the end of the debate, each candidate had a minute to succinctly state the issues most important to them as candidates.
Brown touted his record as the "second most bipartisan senator," by noting he voted with his party just 54 percent of the time.
"We need to work together in a truly bipartisan manner," he said.
Warren said she saw two very different paths for the country.
"Brown and the Republicans want to cut the taxes for those at the top, and we let everybody else pick up the pieces," she said. "Everyone needs to pay their fair share, even millionaries."
Who do you think won the debate? Which moments did you think stood out the most? If you were undecided before the debate, which way are you leaning now? Tell us in the comments.