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It’s All About Women
by Thomas MacMillan | Sep 27, 2012 12:37 am
Posted to: Politics, Campaign 2012
As women warm to Republican Linda McMahon in Connecticut’s neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race, Democrat Chris Murphy hammered at her on women’s health issues during a campaign stop at Southern Connecticut State University.
Murphy (pictured) is running against McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO, for the state’s open U.S. Senate seat. And women are crucial to the math in that race.
Murphy charged in his Wednesday visit to town—which drew not only his own supporters, but a feisty band of McMahon supporters—that McMahon would support Republican policies on health care and abortion that would be harmful to women’s health.
McMahon campaign spokesman Todd Abrajano responded that McMahon is pro-choice. Meanwhile, the campaign released an ad trumpeting her as an “independent-minded woman” who offered employees health benefits covering birth control and mammograms.
Those salvos were the latest in a close race for the seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman—a race that could potentially determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.
And a race, in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s focusing a lot on who’s best for women.
McMahon, who ran for Connecticut’s other U.S. Senate seat two years ago, has been doing better this election season among women, a constituency that did not tend to support her in 2010, with devastating results. (Click here to read about how the gender gap doomed her campaign.)
Recent polls this year have shown McMahon closing the gender gap, although a Democratic poll released Wednesday showed that Murphy still leads among female voters.
With that in mind, Murphy stopped by the student center at Southern Connecticut State University Wednesday for an afternoon rally organized with the student Democratic organization. A third-floor room was filled with several dozen seated Murphy supporters, backed by a couple of dozen standing McMahon supporters toting handmade signs with slogans like, “Murphy = Dishonest” and “Murphy is Anti-Women” and “Murphy = Higher Taxes.”
Following brief remarks by New Haven state Rep. Gary Holder Winfield (pictured) and campus Dems president Alix Lawson, Murphy delivered a stump speech highlighting his young age (39) and hammering McMahon on women’s issues.
Republicans are engaging in an “assault on women” that’s playing out in terms of access to contraception and preventative health care, he said. They want to “reverse women’s rights by 50 years.”
McMahon may say that she is a pro-choice candidate, but she’s not, Murphy argued. McMahon would vote for anti-choice Republican Party leadership, Murphy said. She would help put in place, for example, Republican Senate Judiciary Committee members who would make a commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade a precondition for any new federal judge, he argued.
Murphy also accused McMahon of not knowing what the Lilly Ledbetter Act was. The law ensured equal pay for equal work regardless of gender.
And he pointed out her expressed support of the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed employers to refuse to pay for contraception as part of employee health care plans.
“Linda McMahon would be a disaster for women’s health care,” Murphy said.
Murphy (pictured) touched on other issues—taxes and tax breaks, the environment—but continued to return to women’s health care, which he called an economic issue, given the cost of health care.
Even during a questions-and-answer period that followed his remarks, Murphy continued to bring the focus back to women.
Asked about Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s recently unearthed comments about amount of taxes paid by “47 percent of Americans,” Murphy said it’s the same specious Republican talking point that McMahon used when she announced her candidacy. Murphy then pivoted back to women, saying the Republican Party has a number of other questionable talking points, like embattled U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin’s statements about “legitimate rape.” Akin sponsored a bill with vice presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan that would have introduced the concept of “forcible rape” and outlawed abortion in all cases, including rape and incest.
“These are the people Linda McMahon would empower if elected,” Murphy said. “Linda McMahon is just wrong for this state.”
“My only response is that Linda McMahon has made it clear that she is a pro-choice candidate who would never vote to overturn Roe. v. Wade,” said McMahon campaign spokesman Abrajano.
Asked about Murphy’s accusation that McMahon has refused to say where she stands on issues, Abrajano said, “The only person in this campaign who has been ducking the press is Chris Murphy. For three straight weeks he has refused to answer questions about his ethics scandal. ... Linda McMahon is out on the campaign trail every day talking about the issues that matter to Connecticut voters and highlighting her six-point jobs plan.”
In response to Murphy’s salvos, McMahon’s latest commercial struts her women’s health bonafides. (Click on the play arrow to watch.) Her latest ad on political websites is headlined: “Linda McMahon is a pro-choice, independent-minded woman.”
“Staff” or “Protesters”?
McMahon supporters filing out of the Murphy event largely declined to answer questions. One man said “only a handful” of them were students at Southern, including him. He said their presence at the rally was not organized by the campaign. “We just talked amongst ourselves.”
Anthony, another McMahon supporter, said he drove down from Stafford Springs for the event, which he said he heard about on Facebook. Anthony was whisked away by a tall man in a plaid shirt before he could answer more questions. The McMahon supporters walked down the stairs together and coordinated rides outside the student center.
Outside in the parking lot, Murphy said the McMahon supporters are staff from her campaign.
Asked if that’s true, Abrajano said, “Not that I’m aware of. If Congressman Murphy doesn’t want protesters at his events, he probably shouldn’t hold public events. He’s been ducking some very serious questions.”
Murphy was tailed by a “tracker” videotaping his every word and deed, including his trip through the parking lot after the event. The tracker refused to answer questions. Asked if the videographer is a McMahon campaign staffer, Abrajano said, “I’m not sure who that person is, so I’m not going to comment on that.”
Tags: campaign 2012, Chris Murphy, Linda McMahon, SCSU, tracker, gender gap
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The sad thing is that the McMahon campaign has been paying students at southern to show up at these events. She pays well too. It must be nice to be a multi-millionaire. But it would be nicer if the people who were holding the signs were there for something greater than a ten buck an hour paycheck.
Congressman Murphy’s record on issues (including “women’s” issues) is a matter of fact. The fact is that Congressman Murphy and his band of Democratic legislators have brought 23 million unemployed Americans the harsh reality of having to make choices such as putting food on the table or clothing on their children’s backs. Congressman Murphy’s record is one that has resulted in a decrease in household income by over 5% over the past 3 years as well as a historic national debt-passing over $6 Trillion of debt to our children. Congressman Murphy has made a clear decision to forgo support for women, children and the middle class in order to be a lackey to the Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress.
America and Connecticut needs and deserves better.
You seem to think that the recession is the congressman’s fault. It isn’t, it is the fault of the GOP who has repeatedly blocked essential jobs legislation to suit their political ends. It is the fault of the inability of any GOP congressperson to understand what compromise means. It means revenue increases and spending cuts, but the GOP has pledged away their careers on those issues.
Now we have the candidacy of Linda McMahon, who throws her money around because she is trying to find legitimacy in elected office.Her folks were thrown off college campuses for misrepresentation while trying to pay off students to pretend to support her. She has vowed to fight to repeal the ACA which not only would be horrible for women, but for the nation, as it would increase the deficit by 109 billion dollars and send us back to a time when insurers could throw us off their rolls for any reason. It will force thousands of Connecticut women and children to go without preventative care, and that is s scandal.
Hey gary.How come you can stand and give speechs for Chris Murphy and speak about the Death Penalty,Butwill not stand by kermit carolina?
I do believe that as an elected official that Congressman Murphy does bear some responsibility for the current economic situation. Particularly, I believe that as a member of the political party that was in control through some part of this I further believe that Congressman Murphy should be held accountable. Specifically, I believe that is reasonable to assign the decrease in American’s household income, the continued and escalating unemployment, the doubling of the price of fuel and the historic national debt that was created under the guise of stimulus to Congressman Murphy, the Obama Administration and Democratic congress people, as they have been in control of both the Executive and Legislative Branches of our Federal Government throughout.
It further strike me as odd that you would identify GOP congresspersons as obstructionist, and suggest that they be held responsible will abdicating Congressman Murphy and his fellow Democrats.
Lastly, may I suggest that your definition of compromise (“revenue increases and spending cuts”) has lacked the latter element in nearly every Connecticut State and Federal budget since (in all likelihood) both of us have been alive. Therefore, I would suggest that if you were truly for compromise (under your own definition) that you would outraged at the lack of any meaningful spending cut throughout.
Thank you for allowing me to clarify your comments. Have a nice day.
While I appreciate your attempt to clarify my comments Skyrocket, I think we should take a small look at yours instead. I wonder at one’s understanding of economics when one blames the democratic party for the price of fuel. It shows a serious disconnect with reality. As does your thought that recent budgets have not had severe spending cuts associated with them. Just ask anyone in a non-profit entity in the sate of Connecticut or in the nation as a whole what they think of your assertion. Spending has been drastically cut. The deficit we find ourselves in as a nation have more to do with an aging population, decreases in revenue at a time of two wars and rising healthcare costs than they do with runaway partisan spending by one part or another. I do appreciate your efforts at understanding the economy and I wish you a pleasant evening.
Thank you to the lawmakers, students and activists who attended this rally. In the words of Congressman Murphy, “It is unbelievable that a candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut could be running on a platform of ending insurance coverage for birth control for millions of women in this country.” I can’t believe it myself.
Linda McMahon cannot have it both ways. The reality of a Republican Senator is one of budget-cuts most affecting health care, education and the communities where Connecticut’s working poor live.
McMahon 2012 is a threat to women, families and children. She does not believe that women’s insurance should ensure their access to preventative healthcare and family planning.
Just as I don’t want to make healthcare decisions for the misogynist extremists behind these attacks, nor should they make decisions for me. C’mon Linda, you know better. Vote Murphy in November.