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McMahon Wins GOP Endorsement, AP Linda Smackdown

May 21st, 2010 · 9 Comments · State Politics

Linda and Vince McMahon, WWE

Linda McMahon won the GOP U.S. Senate endorsement Friday night. In her convention speech she promised a smackdown against Democratic endorsed candidate Richard Blumenthal. Speaking of smackdowns from AP:

WWE mogul charges into Conn. political smackdown

By SUSAN HAIGH (AP) –

HARTFORD, Conn. — Linda McMahon has had some infamous moments in the ring — kicking a man in the groin, getting slapped across the face by her daughter, and sitting in a wheelchair, feigning a coma, as her famous husband cavorted before thousands of screaming fans with a scantily clad “Diva.”

McMahon last year stepped away from her wild World Wrestling Entertainment empire to climb into the political ring, where she has parlayed some of her experience with attention-getting stunts into a viable Republican candidacy to succeed the retiring Chris Dodd in the U.S. Senate.

As the state GOP prepares to endorse a candidate Friday, McMahon unabashedly acknowledges her campaign used some of the $50 million she has pledged for the race to provide “some things” for a news report that front runner Richard Blumenthal, the state’s popular Democratic attorney general, had distorted his record of military service during the Vietnam War.

She also continues to deflect criticism about the WWE, which over the years has come under fire for the health of its performers and some of its stunts, including a developmentally disabled character being beaten and a performer simulating sex with a woman’s corpse in a casket.

“It’s push-back that WWE has heard over time. To produce seven hours of fresh programming every single week, with no reruns for 52 weeks a year, you do some story lines, you know, better than others,” McMahon, a political novice, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “It becomes a matter of taste.”

McMahon, who stepped down as chief executive officer of WWE last fall to run for the Senate, is now pitching herself as a successful entrepreneur with than 30 years of business experience, someone who knows how to manage a budget, create jobs and stimulate the economy.

Her early salvo has left a blemish in Blumenthal’s tidy record in addition to stirring up renewed attention to her own record with the Greenwich-based WWE, where she helped grow a 13-person operation into a global business with more than 500 employees.

Democrats and McMahon’s main GOP rival, former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, are attempting to turn the tables and use the controversy that McMahon helped to create, as well as her campaign’s words, as political ammunition.

Simmons points to McMahon’s statements about the health and wellness of her WWE performers. His campaign recently produced an Internet video that flashes pictures of seven wrestlers who appeared in a 1991 Wrestlemania Event and later died, most of them in their 40s. It points out how the WWE stopped its drug testing in 1996 and didn’t resume it until 2006.

“Evaluating Linda McMahon, the candidate begins with evaluating Linda McMahon’s WWE business experience — the good, the bad, the ugly,” read one recent Simmons mailer.

Another reads: “Linda McMahon made hundreds of millions of dollars she’s using to fund her Senate campaign by selling graphic sex and violence to children of all ages.”

It’s questionable whether that rhetoric will influence Republican delegates on Friday, though.

“Rob Simmons, since September, has been attacking Linda, has run a nonstop negative campaign against Linda, he has been talking exclusively about wrestling, WWE,” said Ed Patru, a McMahon campaign spokesman. “The result has been a nose dive in the polls for him.”

While Simmons was the front runner for the Republican nomination earlier this year, actually leading Dodd back in January when the senator was still in the race, a March 17 Quinnipiac University Poll showed McMahon, who has already run numerous television ads, had taken the apparent lead among Republican primary voters. While Simmons is expected to win the endorsement Friday, some Republicans acknowledge McMahon has a shot.

Even if McMahon doesn’t win the nod Friday, she’s still expected to win enough delegates needed to challenge Simmons to a primary on Aug. 10. Simmons has said he won’t seek a primary if he does not secure the endorsement.

A 2009 congressional committee investigation into steroid use in professional wrestling, one that included interviews with McMahon and her husband, Vince, criticized the WWE for a “lack of independence and transparency.”

McMahon pointed out the WWE has improved its wellness program, telling the AP that there are now full cardiac evaluations and physicals for performers, and that the WWE was the first wrestling organization to put mats outside the ring to protect falling wrestlers.

“It’s always interesting that you are seemingly punished or looked at askance for what maybe you weren’t doing 20 years ago, instead of being credited for how you’ve evolved it, learned in the process, taken better care of people, and all of the evolutions of content and programming and been in business that long and been on television,” McMahon said.

“It’s a testament really to the creativity and ingenuity that’s the product, I think.”

Now McMahon is using that ingenuity in her political race.

A report this week by The New York Times, the newspaper to which McMahon’s campaign acknowledges it supplied information, included quotations and a video of Blumenthal saying in 2008 that he had served “in Vietnam” even though his service in the Marine Reserve did not take him overseas.

Blumenthal, who appeared to have a lock on the Senate seat before this with double-digit leads in recent polls, has since said that he “misspoke” on several occasions and that his statements were “totally unintentional” errors.

Referring to McMahon campaign claims that Blumenthal’s mistakes about his military record show “deeply disturbing disconnects between the image he sought to portray and reality,” Simmons said the same can be said about McMahon.

“Just as Blumenthal’s unscrutinized record has now caused consternation for Democrats,” Simmons said, “so will McMahon’s for Republicans.”

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • donj

    McMahon, wow!!! Anybody but her.

  • Bob

    Thank God we have a NON – Politico running.
    Dick–his name says it all.
    Simmons–he is the ultimate Mr. Empty Suit.
    She’s not perfect–nor are you and I.
    Let’s put a real person in DC–Go Linda.
    BC
    Ridgefield CT

  • Mojo

    *** It just might be “GOP-blues” but there’s something shady about the lady from the WWE! *** Time may tell? ***

  • Joel Gonzalez

    I’m in contact with John Slater at the Republican Convention. Nothing yet, I’ll post when I hear from Slater.

  • Mojo

    *** Will the tea party GOP’ers please put a gag on Dr. “Kentucky” before he really makes them all look like spoiled “klondike” seekers! *** Front-door Conventions, where everybody’s looking for something? However it’s the “back door” man that gets the “gold ring!” *** FORGETABOUTIT ***

  • Grin Ripper

    Lady Gag Gag can run on her voting record. Her non-voting record. She’s a real Tea Bagger!

  • stillstanding

    Surely there are better things McMahon can do with her megamoney besides indulge in dirty politics?

  • GOPinBPT

    I am thrilled Linda McMahon has gotten the endorsement from the Republicans. She knows how to make things a success and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. The GOP has been waiting for a candidate who has a positive message and can turn up the excitement! GO LINDA!

  • pajo

    How the CT Republican party has stooped so low to have a HYPOCRITICAL, pretentious monster like McMahon as their frontrunner is totally beyond any comprehension.

    Just look at her summary of “achievements”:

    Many WWE performers’ premature deaths from condoned drug abuse by the McMahons; the message to young male WWE fans that sexual degradation of women and necrophilia ‘entertainment’ were OK; her obstruction of justice during a congressional investigation into the WWF on drug abuse; her refusal to answer news reporters’, her opponent’s or the public’s probing questions about drug abuse and premature deaths during her reign as the WWE CEO; lying on her application for appointment to the CT Board of Ed; offering college students money if they registered as Republican voters; her slick, grossly over-simplified one-line TV ads; taking something completely out of context about Blumenthal’s service record to The New York Times; her lack of any sincere interest in public service and issues until 9 months ago (she never even voted!).

    IMO, she is an out-of-control checkbook and egomaniac … I am also sick of being harassed by her barrage of phony mailers and TV ads … (as an example of how she may listen to her constituents, I asked her campaign office several times to be removed from her mailing list, but my request was completely ignored).

    I can’t believe any self-respecting CT citizens (especially women) could even begin to support McMahon, based on the degenerate sleaze and borderline pornography her WWE business stood for all these years, and her attitude that she can buy her way into anything she wants! As many have noticed, she only responds to probing questions with carefully-prepared scripts–what a disgrace she is to intelligent CT voters!

    I am an independent voter, have never volunteered to work in any political campaign before, but I am so disgusted I will now do whatever I can to help her opponent, WHOEVER THAT MAY BE, defeat McMahon … if my disgust is any indication of other Independent CT voters who feel the same way I do, she is going to be in big trouble, in spite of her blood money!

    BTW, Blumenthal has fully recovered from any brief damage and it looks like Peter Schiff will have the required signature count to primary against her in August … Schiff simply destroyed her in the only so-called CT Republican debate held at the University of Hartford a few months ago (comparing her economic knowledge to Schiff’s was like comparing a Piper Cub to a Boeing 787!) … her campaign staff knows it will happen again if she has to face Schiff! … he will make her look like a complete fool, again.

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