In 1974, Joe Biden appeared on WGBH's debate show The Advocates to discuss an issue that still matters today: the government's role in campaign finance. 

The contest between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown has become the most expensive in Massachusetts history. But it wasn’t always this way. As vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan and incumbent Joe Biden prepared for their one and only debate, we dug into the WGBH archives.

On WGBH's The Advocates, Biden complained about the high cost of running a campaign — in 1974.

“We were told that we politicians, as the young kids say, rip off the American public. I think the American public, in a way, rips off we politicians by forcing us to run the way they do. To raise $300,000 is no mean feat," he said. "And unless you happen to be some sort of anomaly like myself — being a 29-year-old candidate who can attract some attention beyond your own state — it’s very difficult to raise that money from a large group of people.”

How times have changed. According to, the average winner of a U.S. Senate race in 2010 spent $9.8 million.

> > Watch the complete episode on OpenVault.

Catching up with the Massachusetts Senate candidates the day after their Oct. 10 debate ... Brown received an endorsement in Hudson, Mass. from Democratic politician Bob Durand while Warren stopped in Holyoke and Worcester.

You can hear tonight’s vice-presidential debate starting at 9 p.m. on WGBH at 89.7 or online.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.