CT Senate hopefuls clash over health care, taxes, jobs and campaign funding during debate Monday.
More details – including the candidates’ views on baseball teams and pizza crust – after the jump.
Blumenthal: “I have stood up for the people of Connecticut over 20 years, fighting for them tenaciously, and fighting for their interest, putting them first.”
McMahon: “This election is about very clear choices and very different policies. On the one hand you have my opponent who has been in government his whole life. And his position is about growing government, I’m about growing the economy.”
Blumenthal: “She would take us back to the policies that led us to these problems, including the bailout.”
McMahon: “He’s about raising taxes … We shouldn’t raise taxes on anyone … I’m for keeping it here.”
On attack ads:
McMahon (responding to accusation that she would reduce minimum wage): “The first thing, let me say categorically that is wrong, and false, and categorically incorrect, that I would consider reducing the minimum wage. That is a lie, and you know it, it is in your ad … Mr. Blumenthal and I actually share the same thought as to the minimum wage, that we should consider raising it.”
On ad attacking military service:
Blumenthal: “There is nothing new in this ad, and there’s nothing new about the McMahon attack on me … She’s spending millions of dollars on me and everyone knows it, because they’ve been seeing it in their mailboxes. As I’ve said before, I’m proud of my military services, and on a few occasions out of hundreds when I described it, I did so inaccurately … and I want to say I am sorry, and sorry to our veterans of Vietnam. But I am going to continue fighting for our veterans, and I’ve been doing it for 20 years.”
On minimum wage:
McMahon: “I would never advocate lowering or reducing the minimum wage … I said we need to take a look at whether or not we need to increase the minimum wage. Congress takes a look at this all the time … I think we need to look at it and make sure it’s in the right economic frame, but I never said we need to reduce it.”
Blumenthal: “The record will show that when my opponent was asked, would she cut the minimum wage, she said she would have to look at it. The record will show that is incontrovertibly true. And I would have never said that.”
Blumenthal: “I know more about business than Ms. McMahon may think.”
Blumenthal: Tells McMahon to put “people above profits,” hits her for how much money she takes home.
Blumenthal: “It’s good to know that WWE is growing after she left the company.”
McMahon: “I won’t let you count my money, and then I won’t talk about the fact that your family owns the Empire State Building.”
On what they would cut:
Blumenthal: “I would end the sweetheart deal.”
Blumenthal: “I would end the tax breaks for corporations that send jobs overseas.”
Blumenthal: “I would have opposed the bailout.”
McMahon: “I think you know at the time Congress voted on the bailouts, I would have done it holding my nose. Because I believe when the Secretary of the Treasury … comes out and says we’re on the verge of economic collapse and we need to do something, I would have supported that.”
McMahon: “I would not have supported the bailouts” for GM, etc.
Blumenthal: “Stimulus not fast enough” and “not accountable enough.”
Crossing party lines:
Blumenthal: “Connecticut is a small state but I’ve boxed above my weight by reaching out to Republicans as well as Democrats.”
McMahon: “We need to reach across party lines … we are in gridlock.”
McMahon: “As a CEO of a company you have to negotiate many deals, you have to know how to drive consensus when necessary.”
On special interests:
McMahon says special interests fund Blumenthal’s campaign, Blumenthal hits McMahon for lobbying money in Washington.
On creating jobs:
Blumenthal: Says he helped protect jobs as AG.
McMahon: Says government doesn’t create jobs, entrepreneurs who take risks create jobs.
Blumenthal: “I’m not going to be an entrepreneur as a Senator.” (receives claps/cheers from audience)
On health care:
McMahon: “It’s a bad bill. We need to repeal it and we need to start over again.”
Blumenthal: “This bill is a good start.”
Blumenthal: “This bill recognizes some fundamental facts. No child in America should be denied health care because they are sick … No American family should go bankrupt paying for health care.”
Blumenthal: “But we need to do better in controlling costs … we need to eliminate waste and fraud.”
Blumenthal: “There is a certain irony in my opponent talking about health care reform, because she denies health insurance to the wrestlers.”
McMahon: “You talked about the WWE contractors who don’t have health coverage … Indeed they do.”
McMahon: “In the 28 years WWE has been in Connecticut, it has never been investigated or fined in relation to its contractors. And the only time it got investigated was just as this campaign got going.”
Blumenthal: “As you well know, my jurisdiction is exclusively civil. The allegations against WWE seem to be criminal in nature. So it’s no coincidence that my investigation has not covered them. I have no investigation, have not done an investigation, because allegations about independent contractors are investigated by the Department of Labor and the Department of Revenue Services. And I’d have no knowledge of that investigation. It’s being conducted by the state.”
On campaign funds:
Blumenthal: “My campaign might be outspent, but it won’t be outworked, and the people of Connecticut want an election, not an auction.”
McMahon: “I am funding my campaign with money I’ve earned … I know the people of Connecticut can’t be bought.”
Lightning round (one word answers):
Thoughts on Dodd:
Blumenthal: “Not running”
Red Sox or Yankees:
Thin Crust or Thick Crust:
Blumenthal: Thin crust.
McMahon: “Thin and crispy every time.”