Skip to main content

Connecticut Senate debate focuses on economy, taxes

By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
Right on, or political theater?
  • Economic issues dominate the debate
  • Connecticut Senate race is a virtual dead heat
  • Polls shows McMahon trailing Blumenthal 49 to 46 percent

(CNN) -- Economic issues dominated Monday night's Connecticut Senate debate between Democratic nominee and state attorney Richard Blumenthal and Republican nominee Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment.

The candidates butted heads over taxes, job creation and spending.

Blumenthal accused McMahon wanting to "lower the minimum wage," an attack he has used in campaign ads.

"That's a lie." McMahon said in rebuttal, a phrase she reiterated several times as Blumenthal returned to the subject.

Citing her record in the private sector, McMahon touted her skills in job creation, at one point asking Blumenthal "How many jobs have you created?"

Blumenthal quickly noted the layoffs that occurred during McMahon's tenure at WWE, while promoting his career in public service.

On taxes, Blumenthal said McMahon would "take us back to the policies that led us to these [economic] problems," adding that he "would give a middle class tax cut now without holding it hostage with tax cuts for the wealthy."

McMahon said that she did not want to raise taxes on anyone "in a time of recession."

Blumenthal was asked about past misstatements he made regarding his service in the Vietnam war -- statements which resurfaced in a McMahon attack ad hours before the debate.

He apologized for the statements, saying, "I regret it. I take full responsibility for it."

The Senate debate took place as recent polling indicates the race is now a dead heat.

A Quinnipiac University survey released last week showed McMahon trailing Blumenthal 49 to 46 percent among likely voters, with 4 percent undecided. Blumenthal's 3-point advantage was within the poll's sampling error, and down from a 6-point margin in a Quinnipiac survey conducted last month.

Nine percent of the respondents who named a candidate said they may change their minds by the November election. According to the poll, McMahon held a five-point advantage among independent voters, a switch from two weeks ago when independents were split evenly between the two candidates.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.