Connecticut Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate Susan Bysiewicz, former Connecticut secretary of state, and Chris Murphy, U.S. Congressman (D-CT-5th), talk about Tuesday's primary election to pick the candidates who will replace Joe Lieberman in the U.S. Senate.
Democrats vying to replace Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman traded blows over tax loopholes on Thursday morning ahead of next week's congressional primary.
Former Secretary of State Bysiewicz is staking her campaign message around anger at Wall Street, saying her campaign is fueled by her desire to help the middle class suffering through foreclosures and a scarcity of jobs.
"The richest people in America and the biggest corporations in our country already have enough advocates in Washington," she said. "I think it's very important for leaders in Washington hold Wall Street accountable for some of the pain that they've caused."
Bysiewicz says that a huge difference between her and Rep. Murphy is that she supports closing a tax loophole that allows their income to be taxed at a lower rate, and says that despite the fact that many Connecticut residents work for hedge funds, she has built a coalition of supporters who agree that tax policy should be fairer.
"We have lots of folks who are supporters who are in the hedge fund industry who think we should close the hedge fund loophole. This lets them pay only 15 percent of their income in taxes while others are paying far more."
While Rep. Chris Murpy has gotten the Democratic nod in next week's primary vote, Bysiewics says that her outsider status is nothing new and actually helps her with voters.
"I'm no stranger to being a challenger in primaries," she said. "When I ran for secretary of the state, I was the challenger and became the first person in the history of Connecticut to be win the primary as a a challenger and then win the general election."
Bysiewicz points to her campaign agenda that focuses on lobbying reform, ethics reform, campaign finance reform and says those are things the party insiders may not want and support but that she expects will resonate with Connecticut voters.
She says her goal if elected to Washington would be to cross the aisle on infrastructure spending, noting that the U.S. climbed out of the Great Depression largely because of a massive investment in infrastructure.
"It's really important that we have leaders in Washington that are willing to work with Republicans and think outside of the box," she said, "and start investing in transportation infrastructure so we can have some job creation in our state and in our country."
Rep. Chris Murphy says the differences between him and Bysiewicz aren't on the issues so much as "style and effectiveness." He says the reason he's garnered the endorsements of the state's media and politicos are because of his ability to get things done.
"I've been a much more effective voice - I've been in the arena, fighting for healthcare reform, for a fair tax code, for renewable energy," he said. "Not to take anything away from what Susan Bysiewicz has done as Secretary of State - and she's has some troubles - but she just has not been fighting the same way that I have."
In response to the hedge fund loophole charges, Rep. Murphy points to an ad Bysiewicz ran that accused him of taking more Wall Street money than any other Democrat in America, a claim that her campaign later retracted and said was inaccurate. Chris Murphy accused Bysiewicz of running a negative campaign because she's behind in the polls.
"Running ads that you admit are false then compounding those errors by lying to try to cover them up, all of this has just done more damage to her than to me," he said. "I've fought Wall Street when I thought they've been wrong... in the end that's not what people make their decisions about campaigns - donors to campaigns, they want to know what your plans are."