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Murphy Wins!

After Sunday’s opening debate in Connecticut’s Senate race, front pages across the state told the same story: Chris Murphy had clearly established himself as the serious candidate, focusing on his plans to protect seniors’ benefits, fight for local middle class jobs, and represent Connecticut values.  McMahon, who has consistently avoided the press and discussion of her own plans, stumbled through the debate, exposing her campaign platform as a compilation of national Republican talking points and revealing a startling, tenuous grasp on serious issues.

Murphy established himself as the substantive candidate with real solutions for Connecticut’s middle class:

Hardly a Chris Murphy cheerleader, The Courant’s Colin McEnroe called Murphy “ascendant.”

“Chris Murphy turned the debate utterly to his own advantage, won nearly every exchange and fanned the flame of the most significant suspicion about Linda McMahon: that when you take away the expensive media campaign she still doesn’t know her way around public policy, because she only started caring about it a few years ago.”

“If you’re a little tired of the way this campaign has been almost exclusively about attacks on character and very little about the issues, let the word go forth that McMahon was far more reliant on this strategy than was Murphy on Sunday…She seemed…to substitute recent study sessions for the years of immersion one might expect an aspiring senator to have had.”

The CT Post had high-marks for Murphy:

“Murphy kept returning to McMahon’s proposals, many supported by national Republicans, of cutting government spending while decreasing taxes. He said it can’t add up. Murphy said that he would support an increase in payroll taxes to bolster Social Security and charged that McMahon’s promise to work in a bipartisan manner to support Social Security was an attempt to dodge the issue. Grade: A.”

More coverage in The Courant echoed McEnroe.  “On Sunday, the three-term Congressman came out swinging, waging a crisp and spirited defense of his record…When McMahon declined to provide specific programs she would cut to reign in federal spending, Murphy pounced.  ‘Another 90 seconds and no answers,’ he said, ‘not a single specific cut that Linda McMahon would support, and another example of fealty to a supply-side trickle down economics that just hasn’t worked.’”

The New York Times: “While Mr. Murphy showed a command of policy details, Ms. McMahon relentlessly stuck to her talking points…Asked how the poor economy had affected her personally, she would not answer directly.” 

McMahon’s Jobs Plan, Allegedly Written Over Five Months, Is Really A Copy-And-Paste Compilation of Right Wing Talking Points:

The Courant wondered aloud if her talking points collection should count as a jobs plan.  “She keeps harping on the idea that she has “a plan.”  I’d question that.  In fact, it often seems that a plan is precisely what she does not have, if we can agree that a plan explains how you can make good on your promises.  She has a long list of promises, not so much by way of plan.”

From The Connecticut Post:

“McMahon defended her campaign’s written positions that previously have shown up in proposals from Republican lawmakers in Washington, think tanks and trade organizations.”

The New Haven Register focused on McMahon’s job plan, too, which the former wrestling CEO “defended it as a compilation of the best ideas she could find to help the country grow.”

The Associated Press reported that McMahon had little to offer by way of specifics:Murphy pointed out that McMahon’s plan allows the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy to continue, which he argues could harm the middle class due to the revenue loss. He criticized McMahon for not proposing specific cuts to cover the tax-cut extension or ways to rein in the cost of Social Security and Medicare.”

McMahon, A Long Time Opponent Of Marriage Equality, Isn’t Sure What “America’s Laws” Are For Same Sex Couples:

According to The Day, “the biggest gaffe during the debate came when McMahon answered a question concerning homosexual marriage by responding ‘I absolutely support America’s law for same-sex marriage’…The problem, which Murphy pointed out, is that the federal 1996 Defense of Marriage Act specifically recognizes only marriages between a man and a woman.”

The New York Times agreed that McMahon “seemed befuddled by a question about legalizing same-sex marriage, saying, “I absolutely support America’s law for, you know, same-sex marriage.” (Mr. Murphy pointed out that such a law does not exist.)

The Courant’s Colin McEnroe was stunned by McMahon’s response:

“Nothing really explains her astonishing moment of blankness when asked about same-sex marriage. She stumbled through an answer in which she affirmed her support for “America’s same sex marriage law.” There is, of course, no such thing, unless she means DOMA, which is sort of the opposite. And then she just stopped, with probably more than a minute left on her clock…She seemed inexplicably rattled by this benign, predictable and routine question. (This is what happens when you spend your whole campaign dodging the press. You turn into the kind of candidate who can’t improvise.)