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Blumenthal and McMahon Face Ambivalent Connecticut Voters

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bill Clinton addresses a rally for his Yale School classmate, CT Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal (Anna Sale/WNYC)

Former President Bill Clinton headed to New Haven, Connecticut over the weekend to campaign for Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Clinton's classmate at Yale Law School. Clinton's trying to lend some firepower to candidates around the country, and Blumenthal is locked in a close race for US Senate with Republican Linda McMahon, the former CEO of  World Wrestling Entertainment.

Bill Clinton joked he was preaching to the converted at this Sunday morning rally. But that only partly describes Joe Sheehy, from Naugatuck, Connecticut.

"Times in this country were fantastic when he was president,” Sheehy said. “Haven't seen anything like it since."

Sheehy, like others among the 1,500 who attended the rally is enthusiastic about Blumenthal – but he’s ambivalent about the Democrats Blumenthal might join in Washington, like the one currently in the White House.

"I'm sure Obama's trying. I know he's done a lot,” Sheehy said. “But I don't think he's surrounded himself with the smart people Bill Clinton did."

Clinton honed in on those misgivings about Obama – but he tried to rally the troops by focusing on the GOP.

"All over America, what members of the other party want to do, is just make this a referendum on people's anger, apathy, with amnesia thrown in," the former president said.

Linda McMahon's campaign issued a statement portraying the Clinton appearance as a sign Blumenthal's campaign is in trouble. And outside the rally, about 50 anti-Blumenthal protesters gathered, with posters protesting socialism, Blumenthal, and Senator Chris Dodd, whose seat the two rivals are trying to capture. Republican Deborah Cooney says she’s been attending rallies like this over the last couple years, because she feels ignored by Washington.


Deborah Cooney protesting outside the Blumenthal rally.

"Just the fact that the Congress is trying to decide what's best for the people without listening to the people or its constituents,” says Cooney, a Southington resident who calls herself a conservative Republican, but not a Tea Party member. “I call my congressional offices, or my senator's offices, but unfortunately, here in Connecticut, the representatives just go in lock-step with that party line.”

Cooney says Linda McMahon didn’t get her vote in the GOP primary, but she’s been been increasingly impressed with her party’s nominee.

“If she works half as hard in the Senate as she has getting to this process, then I think she'll do a good job for the citizens," she said.

After the rally, the back and forth bickering between protesters and Blumenthal supporters unraveled into honking wars and shouting matches.


Earl Kelley with Keishan Sullivan, during a break in Sunday basketball drills.

At a nearby high school, former UCONN Husky Earl Kelley is running drills with a teenager who also wants to play college ball. Kelley’s happy to take a break and talk politics. The independent has been following the Senate race, including McMahon's big spending and the dust-up about Blumenthal's misstatements about serving in Vietnam.

" I would hope that they would pay a little more closer attention to the middle class families that are struggling with providing for their kids, and hopefully afford them the opportunity to allow their kids to get a higher education, because I think that's what this country's built on. And a lot of that hasn't been going on, at least in the communities that I deal with."

He says he just not sure which candidate has the best plan to do that.

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Comments [6]

Dale from Queens

Litchfield County lawn signs indicate huge support for McMahon amongst working class whites. These are the same towns that saw surprising support for Obama and voted out Nancy Johnson in '08. This should concern Murphy.

Sep. 29 2010 12:07 PM
jschmidt from ct

Blumy has had free publicty for 20 years showing up at any event he could to get his picture in the paper. McMahon is spending a lot of money trying to over turn that advantage. So he is not buying the election she is getting her message out.

Sep. 27 2010 08:29 PM
jschmidt from ct

Teresa- I remind you Blumenthal has had free publicity for 20 years by appearing at every event that has a photography at. To overcome that advantage, McMahon needs to spend a lot of money. So it is not buying the election, it is getting publicity to counteract free publicicty for Blumy.

Sep. 27 2010 08:24 PM
jschmidt from ct

online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748704302304575214491462332922-lMyQjAxMTAwMDIwNDEyNDQyWj.html “The attorney general has also used the power of the state to bully small businesses. In 2003, he sued Computers Plus Center for $1.75 million in damages for allegedly selling state government machines without specified parts. Mr. Blumenthal issued a press release accusing the business owner, Gina Malapanis, of fraud: “No supplier should be permitted to shortchange or overcharge the State without severe consequences,” he said. “We will vigorously pursue this case to recover taxpayer money and send a strong message about zero tolerance for contractor misconduct.” Ms. Malapanis was even arrested in her home on seven first-degree larceny charges.

In 2008 the charges against Ms. Malapanis were dismissed. As for the civil case, she refused to plead guilty and countersued the state for abusing its power and violating her constitutional rights. The jury, recoiling at the overly aggressive action that ruined her business, awarded her a whopping $18 million in January. In a handwritten note on court documents, the jury foreman said the state had engaged in a “pattern of conduct” that harmed Ms. Malapanis’s reputation, and cited the state’s press releases impugning her integrity, some of which came from Mr. Blumenthal. Mr. Blumenthal is appealing the decision.”

Sep. 27 2010 08:22 PM

We need to remember that Linda McMahon will do anything to win, including spending $50 million in her campaign to buy the Senate seat from Connecticut. This is how we lose our democracy.

Sep. 27 2010 06:54 PM
ctdem from Connecticut

Linda McMahon invested $16,000,000 into opposition research, equiping canvassers with 'Ipads' and allowing students to keep the ipads after four four hour shifts, spent millions of dollars on consultants and advertising out of state, and will spend millions more in her quest.

Dick Blumenthal his spent years working for the consumers of Connecticut on going after big business, cigaretts, gas pricing, insidious gas pipelines across Long Island sound, and a score of issues. He has found that the core of most of these problems to be in Washington amoung the lobbyists...THAT'S WHERE HE'S HEADED.

Linda's record includes bankrupted companies. tacit approval of body enhancing steroids, employees without health or retirement coverage, and a limitless willingness to prey on childrens baser instincts.

The choice is clear.

Sep. 27 2010 02:55 PM

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