Four Weeks Until Election Day, McMahon-Murphy Debate–Voters: “What’s In It For Me?”

McMahon, Murphy

With four weeks left until Election Day, campaigns have officially hit the homestretch. Political operatives for Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Chris Murphy continue to carpet bomb their respective U.S. Senate opposition with television and radio spots, scorched-earth news releases and statements, charges and countercharges, flame-throwing allegations. It’s almost like they’ve received blood transfusions from the vilest of Bridgeport political operatives. (We won’t name names to protect the guilty.)

Somewhere along they way one of the campaigns needs to break out of the hysteria to help their candidate  explain what they’re going to do when they get there. Most electors vote on the future. As OIB friend John Gilmore, former political columnist, declares: “What’s in it for me?” Modern elections of this type are not driven by the candidates. They’re driven by the campaign handlers. Now that’s a cynical statement, you might argue. Some candidates are so good they connect by the force of their personalities. But candidates today, at this level, anyway, are swarmed by campaign handlers who dictate message, strategy and when and where the candidate shows up and for the most part what comes out of their mouths. They live to program the moment to avoid the trappings of unscripted moments (and hold their breath during debates).

McMahon’s campaign has accomplished a must in this cycle, win over women voters who delivered Dick Blumenthal’s win in her first crack at U.S. Senate in 2010. Polling shows McMahon’s doing much better with women who questioned her affiliation with the violent wrestling empire she helped build. The Murphy campaign is trying to recast doubt about McMahon to bring back those female voters. Men are generally pretty easy to figure out: “You raise my taxes I punch you in the nose.” Women process information through a nourishing filter. They’re interested in multiple issues. Yes, they care about taxes, jobs and the economy, but they also wonder: “Is my kid safe with this person in power?” “Do they work well with others?” “Will any Social Security money be left?” And female voters break late.

Some will argue with incredulity that McMahon is trying to buy a race with her enormous wealth. The other day the Murphy campaign kicked out a news release crowing about its eclectic support around the state. It was loaded with special interests that have donated to his campaign. So what would you rather have, a candidate who self finances a race no one can buy? Or a candidate whose donors are trying to buy him? It’s an argument the McMahon campaign is making.

We now live in a world with an inherently corrupt federal campaign financing system, loaded with independent expenditures, in which the most effective elected officials are those who know how to be ingrates when it counts. Public financing of federal campaigns does not exist. It does in the state of Connecticut on a voluntary basis. Wouldn’t it be nice for the federal system?

Murphy, after several bad weeks, appears to be gaining his footing. Murphy’s race wasn’t supposed to be this hard. McMahon and Murphy faced off in a debate Sunday. For various reports, visit

The Murphy spin:

ROCKY HILL- While former wrestling CEO Linda McMahon continued leaning on political attacks and copied-and-pasted right-wing Republican policies, Chris Murphy won today’s debate by focusing on the issues that matter to Connecticut voters and highlighting the contrast between his work fighting for middle class families and McMahon’s work fighting for millionaires and billionaires like herself. McMahon’s stale smears fell flat as she was forced to actually discuss the issues that voters care about.

“Once again, Linda McMahon did everything she could to hide from the right-wing Republican policies she supports to end Social Security, privatize Medicare, and protect tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, but voters were able to see right through that in this debate” said Murphy campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “This debate made it clearer than ever that Chris Murphy is the only candidate in this race fighting for Connecticut’s middle class, jobs, seniors’ benefits, and women’s rights. Now that Chris has won this debate we expect McMahon to double down on her desperate campaign of lies and smears. But it didn’t work when she did that in 2010 against Senator Blumenthal, and it’s not going to work now.”

Throughout the debate, McMahon continued her attempts to distort the extreme policies that she supports, including dangerous Republican legislation to deny Connecticut women coverage for birth control, mammograms, and cervical cancer screenings. When asked to discuss her support for these extreme policies, McMahon insulted women across the state by saying that because she is a woman, her policies shouldn’t matter.

McMahon also struggled to avoid her plan to end Social Security and privatize Medicare through the Ryan Plan. She refused to discuss how the economic recession has affected her and ducked questions about her blood-oath to Grover Norquist’s to never raise taxes on millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

When the debate turned to jobs, Murphy detailed his Buy American legislation and discussed his support for middle class tax cuts and Connecticut’s defense manufacturing industry. McMahon, who supports tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and has no estimates on the real impacts of her jobs plan, only offered vague, far-right sound bites.

The McMahon spin:

This morning, Chris Murphy and I had a spirited, informative debate on “Face the State.” I hope that you had the chance to tune in and see the clear choice that the people of Connecticut have in November.

You have a choice between a proven job creator and a career politician who has never created a single job.

You have a choice between someone who would cut middle-class taxes, saving an average Connecticut family of four $500 a month next year, and someone who has, and will, raise taxes on the middle class.

You have a choice between someone who can’t be bought by special interest groups and someone who has already gotten a special loan deal from a “strong campaign supporter” who later received a $400 million taxpayer bailout.

You have a choice between someone who has shown up for work every day of her life and someone who has failed to show up for his taxpayer-funded, $170,000-a-year job 75% of the time.

You have a choice between someone who will fight to protect defense jobs and someone who has voted to cut funding for Connecticut sub bases–twice.

Chris Murphy is a career politician whose highest ambition has been to hold political office. He has spent his entire life in elected office.

My ambition is to make sure our kids and grandkids have better opportunities than we did.

As a Democrat in Connecticut, Congressman Murphy expected a coronation rather than a campaign. He underestimated you.

Now that he finds himself in a serious race against a serious woman, his special interest friends are trying to bail him out and have taken over his campaign. They have launched false cookie-cutter attacks in a desperate attempt to distract voters from the fact that Connecticut unemployment has doubled since Congressman Murphy went to Washington. Taxes are up, wages are down, and people are hurting.

We need someone in Washington who can get Connecticut working again. I am the only candidate in this race who can, and will, do that.

We don’t need another career politician in Washington. We need someone who will fight for you–who believes America’s best days are ahead and not behind.



  1. How could I live on State Street and vote at Black Rock, lmao!!! Lennie, do you think we will see 40,000 people vote come November like 2008? Since I have been voting, 2008 was the only year I actually saw a line and had to wait 30 min to vote, it was a huge turnout in the city for what people call a ghost town!!!

  2. *** I’m a registered Dem; however regardless of how you may feel about the Republican party as a whole, if you’re voting on the premise of who’s the best individual for the job, after viewing this small local debate, you can pretty much see just the “change only” would be a welcome choice for the state of CT in the long term. Wake up there donj, Obama and Himes get my vote too ’cause they’re the better choices in my opinion but Murphy, I just can’t bear to see and hear more of the same old “SMURF” talk and slow action! *** VOTE LINDA! ***

    1. Love you Mojo, but really, you can’t vote for a woman who would treat your unbelievably wonderful wife like a doorstop. Really, you can’t. Rethink this.

  3. Linda McMahon’s video statement at a “Tea Party” forum this summer where she said “Social Security should be SUNSET” (done away with). This will cause her defeat.

  4. Every urban city in CT is a deep blue, Democratic, one-party town. For generations.

    Things are really working out well, aren’t they?

    I am not wild about Linda other than she has made something out of nothing … May not be my cup of tea but a tremendous number of people like it.

    What has Murphy been other than a typical coat holder, Dodd’s anointed successor?

    Has he ever had to live off his own merits? … Typical hack.

    Why do we have so many lawyers in Congress?

    I’m ready for some people who have made payroll.

    Don’t like Linda much but I’m very tired of the Murphy, Larson, Lieberman etc. Democratic hacks.

    1. It is not true that most urban cities are Democratic. Stamford, Torrington, Danbury, Norwalk and others have Republican mayors. About ten more are pretty conservative Democratic or actually have Republican mayors or majorities on their boards of aldermen.

  5. I watched that debate yesterday, all of it. McMahon said she was an independent thinker yet she is running as a Republican. She said she was pro choice; for gay marriage; for food stamps; for keeping folks insured with pre-existing conditions. Those are not Republican positions. I just don’t believe her. In Mitch McConnell’s Republican Senate caucus you do what he says if you want to get on key committees and eventually become chairs of subcommittees and full committees. She said many things she will not be able to deliver on. She can’t buy her way into Republican leadership. She has to toe the far-right Republican line or wind up in McConnell’s doghouse. There are a couple more debates. I need to listen more. There are many Republican positions that would not be good for Connecticut.

  6. Did anyone click on that banner to the right?
    “On Nov. 6th Choose Progress VOTE YES for Better Schools”
    If you click it on it takes you to that spineless gutless organization called
    Not only do they not have the courage to put their name on the banner but on the entire webpage the ad directs you to, not once does it mention eliminating an elected Board of Education.
    And they suggest if you vote Yes Bridgeport’s schools can be as good as Hartford and New Haven!
    Give up your right to vote and your schools can be as good as Hartford and New Haven!!!
    Excuse me, if I am giving up my right to vote I am expecting excellence far superior to those two districts.
    Spineless, gutless weasels. That’s all those excel people are.
    VOTE NO.
    At least make these so-called leaders in the city and the hedge fund managers from Greenwich tell the truth. Quit hiding behind a question the City Attorney’s office drafted.
    VOTE NO!!!

  7. Linda came off as a bully. She wants to be tough but she is just making it easier for Murphy to position himself as a reasonable moderate. Her ads are so nasty. I guess that’s what you get when you sink $50 million into a campaign. Will do anything to win!!!


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