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Brown, Warren agree to fourth televised debate

Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren have agreed to a fourth televised debate in their US Senate campaign.

It will be co-hosted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Boston Herald on Sept. 27 – the same day as the proposed UMass Boston-Kennedy Senate Institute debate that Brown rejected earlier this week.

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And it will be moderated by David Gregory, host of the NBC News program, “Meet the Press.”

The rejected UMass Boston-Kennedy Institute debate was to have been moderated by another NBC figure, former “Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw.

Brown rejected the UMass Boston debate because Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and president of the Kennedy Institute board of trustees, refused to agree to not endorse a candidate in his showdown with Warren.

The Herald did not announce any similar guarantee, but UMass Chancellor Martin T. Meehan, a former Democratic member of Congress, has not endorsed political candidates during his five years in academia and said in a statement that practice would continue this fall.

Brown’s campaign told the Herald the debate is the final offer the senator will accept during his reelection campaign. He is seeking his first full, six-year Senate term after winning a special election to complete the final two years of Kennedy’s former term.

“Senator Brown has now committed to six debates, including the two radio debates Professor Warren has refused to accept. By Election Day, Senator Brown will have participated in six debates – the most of any incumbent Massachusetts senator in 16 years,” Brown campaign spokesman Colin Reed said in a statement.

The Warren campaign, which had sought the exposure of four televised debates, pronounced itself pleased with the agreement.

“Elizabeth has consistently advocated for four televised debates to give the people of Massachusetts the chance to see the clear difference between her support for middle class families and Scott Brown’s support for Wall Street,” Warren strategist Doug Rubin told the Herald in a statement.

Meehan said in a statement: “We are excited to host this important debate between the candidates, especially because of the vibrant atmosphere that the Tsongas Center will provide. The event offers an important opportunity to educate and engage our students in the electoral process, as well as to bring the candidates to the people of the Merrimack Valley.”

The candidates have now agreed to four televised debates, including one hosted by a Boston media consortium including the Globe; a second by a western Massachusetts media consortium; a third by WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller; and the fourth by UMass Lowell and the Herald.

Brown has also accepted two radio debates, one next week hosted by WBZ-AM host Dan Rea and another by WTKK-FM hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.

Warren had held off accepting those invitations until Brown committed to four TV debates. There was no immediate word if she will now participate in the radio faceoffs.

Glen Johnson can be reached at johnson@globe.com.Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.
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