It was fight night in Connecticut, where the first senate debate between Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Wrestling magnate Linda McMahon was held last night.
McMahon, a former World Wrestling Entertainment executive, definitely stood her ground against the attorney general, as she claimed that "government does not create jobs" and pledged to repeal Obamacare. But she had trouble naming anything besides the stimulus that she would cut to save money and was hammered pretty hard by Blumenthal for claiming that, while "holding my nose," she would have voted for TARP.
As for the character issues, Blumenthal repeated his defense that he simply misspoke when he falsely claimed (on multiple occasions) that he served in Vietnam. Blumenthal attacked McMahon for WWE's treatment of its employees, and noted there is an ongoing investigation of the company for allegedly not providing its employees with health insurance they deserved.
Blumenthal didn't trot out any new policy positions Monday night, but the Connecticut Democrat's performance was nevertheless a striking example of how toxic the national political environment has become for Democrats. Blumenthal said that he would have voted against both the stimulus and TARP--a somewhat implausible claim coming from an establishment Democrat. He said he supports the death penalty, which the state legislature has voted to abolish. And his tepid defense of Obamacare (a "good start") left The New Republic's Bradford Plumer less than impressed.
A week ago, a poll showed McMahon within 5 points of Blumenthal. Two released yesterday showed him with a bigger lead - as much as 12 points.
In addition, this poll gives Blumenthal a favorable rating of 53%, to 39% unfavorable, while McMahon's is exactly the opposite at 39%-53%.