Brown, Warren debate: Dos and Don’ts

With even the polls disagreeing about who's winning this race right now, tonight's debate could be a tipping point. So both candidates will be getting a lot of advice.

Here's mine for what they should, and shouldn't do:

Scott Brown: calm down. You may have been too hot in the first two debates.

Remember, you want to make Warren’s character the issue, not yours!

Like to be nearly perfect? Then channel Mitt Romney. Review his debate with President Obama.

Romney was always aggressive, but never angry. Tonight, that should be you.

Elizabeth Warren: act like you're a US Senator. Go beyond consumer protection. Bring up big issues, and show how you'd handle them.

As usual, independents will decide this election. Explain how you'd represent them, and not be just another democrat supporting the party line. As always, just as there are topics and themes Warren and Brown want to hit tonight, there are also some they want to miss…

For Brown, don't overplay the Native American issue: we know your charge; we know her response.

Don't spend too much time going over old ground: it's increasingly unlikely to win you any new votes.

You say you're against tax hikes, but now there's more talk in Washington about raising revenues.

If you refuse to increase taxes under any circumstances, then your position could become radical, which is the last thing you want.

Ms. Warren, even if you have a lot to say, wait your turn and don't interrupt. You’ll get your chance to talk.

At your worst, you sound like a lecturing professor with a hint of a whine. At your best, you're conversational with a hint of charisma. So don't lecture.

I 'm so happy to no longer have to say "debates matter," and hope you believe me.

because now I know you know it's true.