Outside the debate, hundreds of supporters for both candidates tried to shout down one another. Blumenthal supporters, many representing local labor unions, brought a huge inflatable "fat cat" with the name tag Linda McMahon around its neck. The cat held an inflatable worker, which hoisted a sign that read: "Don't cut my minimum wage," a reference to McMahon's recent comments about how future minimum wage increases should be closely scrutinized to make sure small businesses are not being harmed.
Blumenthal criticized WWE accepting $10 million in state tax credits and later laying off 10% of its work force in 2009.
Blumenthal said the government can do a better job providing financing and loans to businesses, as well as providing job training and targeted tax deductions for research and development, startup companies and firms that hire new workers. He also called for closing loopholes that allow U.S. companies to send jobs overseas.
McMahon, who used a clip from Blumenthal's response from an earlier debate about how to create a job, [in which Blumenthal stumbled over how government should be involved,] as a political ad, chided her opponent for improving his answer during this latest debate. "I'm very happy you have a notion on how to create jobs," McMahon said.
Blumenthal shot back, saying he would not be lectured by someone who has badly treated her employees, bringing up how seven wrestlers have died since the newcomer politician began her quest last year to fill the Senate seat. "The people of Connecticut know me and they have taken the measure of my character over 20 years," Blumenthal said.
McMahon, who acknowledged the WWE has "pushed the envelope" over the years with its programming, said she remains proud of the company, which she said has created an average of 20 jobs a year over the last 28 years and expects to hire an additional 100 to 140 workers next year.
McMahon said she hadn't talked to a small businessperson who has benefited from Blumenthal's litigation.
Blumenthal said he supported cap-and-trade in concept, but he rejected labeling it an energy tax. He called cap-and-trade legislation dead and said tax incentives should be directed toward fuel-cell and other clean-energy technologies.
Blumenthal said he was proud of his military record in the Marine Corps Reserves but on a few occasions out of hundreds of public speeches, he said he served in Vietnam. "I apologize as I have done before to the people of Connecticut, most particularly to our veterans, and I will continue to champion the cause of veterans," he said.
"She talks about creating jobs," Blumenthal said. "Many of the jobs she's created at WWE have no health insurance, the wrestlers and others are hired as independent contractors." Blumenthal said the WWE is under investigation by the state for allegedly classifying wrestlers as independent contractors, denying health insurance benefits and dodging taxes. "Creating those kinds of jobs, without health insurance is certainly not something that I would brag about," he said.
McMahon stood by her record as former chief and executive officer of World Wrestling Entertainment. She painted Blumenthal as a career politician who, as a state legislator, voted for a record tax increase. "I don't think we can send Mr. Blumenthal to Washington with his tax-and-spend philosophy," McMahon said. "We can't afford Dick Blumenthal in Washington."
"Let me remind you, when he was in the Legislature, one year he voted for an $850 million tax increase that affected middle-class Americans," said McMahon. "We're still paying for it today," said McMahon. "And he almost doubled state spending. We cannot afford another tax-and-spend senator in Washington. We can't afford you Mr. Blumenthal, we've had enough of you already."
McMahon said Blumenthal would allow many of the Bush-era tax breaks to end with this year's calendar, to which Blumenthal replied that the nation's wealthiest don't need them and that he would focus on helping small businesses.
"I certainly want to say to everyone here that I believe that now in time of recession we should not raise taxes on anyone, certainly not on the middle class," McMahon said.
McMahon, in rebuttal, reiterated her position on tax cuts: "We should not raise taxes on anyone, certainly not on the middle class," she said. She painted Blumenthal as a career politician who, as a state legislator, voted for a record tax increase. "I don't think we can send Mr. Blumenthal to Washington with his tax-and-spend philosophy," McMahon said.
BLUMENTHAL: My dedication to the State of Israel is rooted in deep and longstanding personal ties to the nation and its people. I believe that a two-state solution is necessary to ensure Israel's continued existence as the homeland of the Jewish people, and provide security both for Israel and for the Palestinian people. However, before this objective can be met it is essential that Palestinian leaders stop aiding terrorism. In addition, they must recognize Israel's right to exist as an autonomous nation with Jerusalem as its capital.
McMAHON: I support a sustainable two-state solution to the conflict. This is both essential to the survival and security of Israel as a democracy and a fundamental American interest. Palestinians must guarantee Israel's security by stating any resolution is truly the end to all violence and that Israel should be recognized as the state of Jewish people.
BLUMENTHAL: We need to establish a comprehensive, federal solution to our ongoing immigration problem. We must secure our borders, and crack down on employers flouting the law by hiring undocumented immigrants. Piecemeal approaches to fixing this problem by various states are not the answer--Washington must fulfill its responsibility by enacting a comprehensive solution.
McMAHON: I oppose amnesty. I support legal immigration and I believe much of this country's strength and prosperity has come as a result of the immense contributions immigrants have made. We have historically welcomed the best workers and the best minds from every country, and I believe we should continue to do so provided it is done legally. We are a nation built on the rule of law, and immigration laws--like all laws--must be enforced.
BLUMENTHAL: I support extending tax cuts for the middle class. My opponent would vote against tax cuts for the middle class unless and until the wealthiest 2% get tax cuts too. I think that is wrong.
McMAHON: I would make the current tax law permanent. Allowing the tax law to change as proposed would negatively affect our most successful small businesses and our seniors. It is estimated that $1.8 billion will leave the state and be in the hands of Washington politicians if the proposed tax increases go into effect. Only four states in the union will be hit harder than Connecticut. The tax hikes would significantly affect the economy in Connecticut, most notably in the number of jobs and change in personal income. From 2011 to 2020, the state of Connecticut would:
McMAHON: Both. The terrorists only need to succeed once, while we must get it right every single time.
BLUMENTHAL: While I am thankful that there has not been a successful attack on American shores since 9/11/2001, real threats remain. It is therefore vital that we use both military and non-military methods to target and attack the terrorists where they are. This includes targeting Al Qaeda's organizations in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen as well as its affiliates like Al-Shabaab in Somalia. At the same time, we must do more at home to remedy the unacceptable flaws exposed in our homeland security, by improving information sharing, bringing together the best technology and the most effective management strategies to get people working across agencies, and to engage the private sector to collect, understand, and mobilize information in real time to improve our national security.
BLUMENTHAL: The current political leadership in Tehran has repeatedly demonstrated antipathy toward basic human rights, and an unyielding animosity toward Israel. I support strengthening the current structure of sanctions on Iran, and work to increase the pressure on the Iranian regime until it relinquishes its aspirations for nuclear weapons. Some of the actions I would support include gaining international support for an arms embargo, targeted travel bans, freezing of assets, and sanctions designed to impede the flow of refined petroleum products into Iran.
McMAHON: The first, and most important, thing we must do is prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The US should continue to exert pressure and press for hard sanctions against Iran until the threat is neutralized. All options in dealing with Iran must remain on the table.
The above quotations are from 2010 Connecticut Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts from 2010 Connecticut Senate Debates.
Click here for other excerpts by Richard Blumenthal.
Click here for a profile of Richard Blumenthal.
Richard Blumenthal on other issues:
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)