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Linda McMahon and Dick Blumenthal step up their attacks against each other

Their campaigns continue to get increasingly dirty and negative, the gloves are well and truly off now.
Their campaigns continue to get increasingly dirty and negative, the gloves are well and truly off now.

That was the big news coming out of their second, less high profile, debate two days ago, in which Linda fared much better than her first appearance where at times she came off as slightly rattled and exasperated, especially on the minimum wage and health care issues.  Here's the highlights from the best account of their second debate from The Connecticut Mirror:

"She claims to be different. There is nothing different about hiring lobbyists to strong-arm Washington," Blumenthal said.

His campaign has pointed to public records in recent weeks that show the WWE relied on lobbyists to oppose a law that would give the Federal Trade Commission powers to fine companies that market adult content to children. It also used a Washington marketing firm, APCO Worldwide, to devise a voter-registration campaign, "Smackdown Your Vote," to counter the WWE's poor image.

McMahon characterized the WWE's lobbying against the adult-content law as a matter of "free speech."

After being on the defensive for much of the first debate, McMahon seemed more comfortable and better-prepared today. She used humor to needle Blumenthal as a career politician with a history of misstatements.

And for the first time, Blumenthal directly confronted McMahon about a previously reported memo in which she directed a WWE subordinate to tip off a doctor about a federal investigation of steroid use by wrestlers. He dropped whatever reservations he had about personally arguing that McMahon was accountable for the WWE's more controversial history, including its implication in the abuse of steroids by its wrestlers.

"Mr. Blumenthal, I think you want to constantly focus on WWE, because it's really difficult for you to focus on the economy and creating jobs," McMahon said. "WWE is certainly a company of which I am very proud."

McMahon pressed the case that Blumenthal's overlooked record as a legislator covered a vote for one of the state's biggest tax increases. "We continue to pay for that today," she said.

Actually, some of the sales-tax and investment-tax increases approved during Blumenthal's tenure were rolled back in 1991, when the legislature instituted a broad-based tax on wages.

Blumenthal used McMahon's criticism of the 1989 tax vote to talk about steroids. Blumenthal countered that while he was struggling with the state budget, she was spending her time trying to thwart a federal investigation of steroid use in the WWE by tipping off a WWE doctor.

When Blumenthal mentioned that the WWE was the target of a state investigation about its practice of classifying wrestlers as contractors, which saves the company from health and unemployment-compensation costs, McMahon turned the issue on Blumenthal.

She said he mischaracterized the investigation as a criminal probe during their previous debate.

Blumenthal denied it.

"Let's give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you just misspoke again," she said, "like the time you talked about how you had served in Vietnam, like the time when you talked about, you were not going to Vancouver for the trial lawyers for a fundraiser."

The jibe prompted Blumenthal to once again apologize for misstatements on at least five occasions about serving in Vietnam, when he was a stateside reservist.

"It was unintentional. That's no excuse. I take full responsibility," he said. "I apologize, as I have done before to the people of Connecticut, most particularly to our veterans."

Their latest attack ads, shown below, continued Linda's theme of attacking Dick for not knowing how to create jobs, this time using his own debate waffle against him, and Dick's "Profits Before People" message citing WWE's lobbying as further evidence of this:

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