Blumenthal, McMahon Debate Again; Voters Turned Off

NEW LONDON, CT (AP / WCBS 880) – The crux of the final Connecticut Senate debate on Tuesday came down to trust, jobs and professional wrestling.

LISTEN: WCBS 880 CT Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau on turned off voters

Republican Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, tried to paint her Democratic opponent, longtime Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, as a career politician who has “a difficult time telling the truth,” mentioning the instances when he misspoke about his military record.

Blumenthal shot back, saying he would not be lectured by someone who has badly treated her employees, bringing up how seven wrestlers have died since the newcomer politician began her quest last year to fill the seat now held by the retiring Sen. Chris Dodd.

“The people of Connecticut know me and they have taken the measure of my character over 20 years,” Blumenthal told the packed crowd at the Garde Arts Center in New London, which became unruly at times.

McMahon, who acknowledged the WWE has “pushed the envelope” over the years with its programming, said she remains proud of the company, which she said has created an average of 20 jobs a year over the last 28 years and expects to hire an additional 100 to 140 workers next year.

When accused by Blumenthal of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby against efforts to crack down on adult entertainment being marketed to children, McMahon said she was pleased the company’s programming has become PG-rated and said “it’s insulting to the millions of people who watch WWE” for Blumenthal to suggest “it is somehow less than quality entertainment.”

The two candidates are locked in a tight race that’s become increasingly heated.

Outside the theater Tuesday, hundreds of supporters for both candidates tried to shout down one another. Blumenthal supporters, many representing local labor unions, brought a huge inflatable “fat cat” with the name tag Linda McMahon around its neck. The cat held an inflatable worker, which hoisted a sign that read: “Don’t cut my minimum wage,” a reference to McMahon’s recent comments about how future minimum wage increases should be closely scrutinized to make sure small businesses are not being harmed.

McMahon’s supporters, meanwhile, kept chanting “Linda! Linda! Linda!” and waving her trademark blue campaign signs.

Much of the debate, the third matchup between the two candidates, focused on jobs. McMahon spoke of the need to provide businesses with “an environment of certainty” when it comes to regulations and taxes, so owners know whether they can risk hiring more workers.

Blumenthal said the government can do a better job providing financing and loans to businesses, as well as providing job training and targeted tax deductions for research and development, startup companies and firms that hire new workers. He also called for closing loopholes that allow U.S. companies to send jobs overseas.

McMahon, who used a clip from Blumenthal’s response from an earlier debate about how to create a job as a political ad, chided her opponent on Tuesday for improving his answer during this latest debate.

“I’m very happy you have a notion on how to create jobs,” McMahon said.

Blumenthal repeated his past criticism of WWE accepting $10 million in state tax credits and later laying off 10 percent of its work force in 2009.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • vicki

    In the past several months we have received at least 20 postcards, leaflets and lengthy brochures, most of them in color, begging for her vote this November. PLEASE stop sending these to me as I would never consider voting for you. Richard Blumenthal is by far the most experienced and caring candidate for this job. He is for the people.
    It is obvious that Ms. McMahon has sufficient funds to spend on this campaign; we all know of her wealth, rather hard to hide. However, it takes more than that to be a good senator. All McMahon shows me is just how very wasteful she is, uncaring about all of the paper used from the many trees cut to make these campaign mailings. Our environment is precious but apparently not everyone cares about this. You can learn a good deal about a person’s character from such an action. Each day, I see these brochures overflow out of wastebaskets onto the floor, from our small postal facility alone. Few people read them. STOP the waste, quality speaks louder than quantity. Really, one postcard is all you need.

  • Josh P

    Poor Connecticut is stuck with the lesser of 2 evils here. So do you want someone who spoke publicly and incorrectly about his military service? Can you forgive him and at least be grateful that he did service? Or would you rather have the drug pushing, envelope pushing, money taking, Draconian employer Linda McMahon? A vote for McMahon is a vote for no progress in Congress. She is for tax cuts which don’t produce jobs and will only pad the pockets of her wealthy constituents back home in Conn, the state with the highest per capita income. Connecticut, where Wall St bankers go to live to avoid paying NY State taxes.

  • Now Is the time

    guys we need to vote, the goverment want to control us all. see fatcs about unemployment and 2011 new tax laws that will make you puke

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