Before the two months when he wasn’t campaigning, when the Blumenthal-Vietnam situation hit, Simmons came to the capitol and held a press conference about it outside the doors of the state capitol. That’s more of the traditional way of going about it.
Speaking of scandal, how has McMahon’s past as the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment played out?
There have definitely been stories about wrestling and some people in Connecticut don’t like wrestling and some people do. There have been stories about steroids and the death of some wrestlers, and McMahon is starting to address that in her commercials. She has an ad running with two middle class women in a car, talking about it and asking each other, ‘Well, what do you think about the wrestling?’ And by the time it’s over, they both like McMahon, as you can imagine in a McMahon commercial. It’s been an issue, but it certainly didn’t stop her from winning the convention endorsement, that’s for sure. But I would say by now, if you don’t know that Linda McMahon is involved in wrestling, then there’s probably no chance you’ll be voting in the primary or the election. Anyone who’s not aware that McMahon is the wrestling person who’s running for the U.S. Senate has not been paying attention.
In the gubernatorial primary, The New York Times wrote Monday that Democrat Ned Lamont, taking on former Stamford mayor Dannel P. Malloy for the party’s nomination, has changed stripes from a “darling of the left” anti-war candidate, which he was in the 2006 Senate primary, to a centrist in his 2010 contest. Is that a fair characterization?
It’s a very different race. The 2006 race was almost totally about the Iraq war. Iraq has never been mentioned, basically, in this campaign, and Lamont is presenting himself as a business executive as opposed to an anti-war activist. It is true that Lamont has changed but it’s a completely different race, completely different issues, completely different opponent.
He’s the same guy that he was in ’06, he’s the same guy that I met twenty-five years ago and wrote about in the Greenwich Time as a young kid. He has not changed as a person; the emphasis has changed. In the ’06 race he owned the cable company that he still has, he was a business executive, he was the CEO of his cable company; all those things are exactly the same. But most people only knew three things about him when he came on the scene in ’06: he was a Democrat, he was against the Iraq War, and he wasn’t Joe Lieberman. And for a lot of liberal Democrats that was enough.
Lamont faced initial criticism for not wanting to debate. How did that refusal impact his campaign?
There was a three-week period when he did not debate. His position all along was that they had twenty-five or twenty-eight joint appearances. He did eventually debate after those three weeks were up. It was a debate that was shown on public television, simulcast on public radio, and shown on the CBS local broadcast. When you add all of those together it was a pretty heavily watched debate. Most Republicans and Democrats say that the delay did hurt him. I have asked him about that and he said he wasn’t sure. But many think it did because it became an issue that would not have been an issue if he had have said, “Okay, I will do the debate. “
What do you think of the national coverage of the Connecticut primaries so far?