A transcript of the post-debate spin at WFSB for Murphy, McMahon

The WFSB studio in Rocky Hill quickly made the transition Sunday afternoon from U.S. Senate debate wrestling ring to spin alley, as reporters descended first on Republican Linda McMahon and then U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy. At one point in the debate, she referred to the American law on gay marriage when she apparently meant Connecticut law.

McMahon called his charges of plagiarism in her campaign positions as “left-handed” that were shopped around to reporters on Saturday. “Papers wouldn’t take it, not even the liberal, you know Huffington…ah paper. So I just wanted to hit him hard on that.”

Reporter A: “Do you want to comment on your stumble on the gay-marriage issue and the American law?”

McMahon: “I can tell you I absolutely would support what I say this time…I would not look to overturn that at all and I’m a supporter of gay marriage.”

Reporter A: “When you used the word ‘America’ that was just a slip of the tongue at that point?”

McMahon: “Yeah I was really talking about..we weren’t going to overturn…I wouldn’t vote to overturn anything in the state of Connecticut, that’s for sure.”

Reporter B: “Would you overturn the Defense of Marriage Act?”

McMahon: “I would vote to repeal DOMA. You know, to me it doesn’t seem fair the folks in Connecticut have the right to be married and yet then they don’t have the same rights as a heterosexual couple, you know, for federal benefits. I just think that’s not fair. So I would…I would vote to repeal DOMA.”

Reporter C: “Have you always had that opinion position because it looks like there’s mixed opinion on where you stand on DOMA?”

McMahon: “I have changed my position on DOMA because with, now, you know gay marriage approved in the state of Connecticut I just, I don’t think it’s fair, and ah, so I would vote to repeal DOMA.”

Reporter C:  “You’ve changed it since 2010? I just want to get that clear.”

McMahon: “I do favor….”

Reporter C: “But when did you make the change?”

McMahon: “Um..I’m not sure. But my opinion has just been evolving and I clearly want there to be fairness and there just isn’t fairness, you know, with DOMA. So I’d vote to repeal it.”

Reporter D: “Would you leave it to the states to decide? The individual states to decide?”

McMahon: “I think, you know, the states do continue to have their own marriage laws, their own divorce laws and they should continue to do that….”

She spoke about various positions she’s taken, charging that Murphy hasn’t been honest with state residents.

McMahon on Murphy’s claim of plagiarism: “I went out and sought the best minds, the best ideas and did research on those, compiled my own plan, put them together, cited those experts and it’s very clear that this is a plan that I’ve put together. Where is Congressman Murphy’s plan? He hasn’t offered one, so there’s nothing to look at to see what his positions would be.”

The reporters’ scrum then moved to Murphy.

Murphy: “Linda McMahon wrestled with the issues this morning and the issues won. Linda McMahon couldn’t answer basic questions on her positions on Social Security and Medicare and women’s health. And I think voters saw a really clear difference. I’m ready to come to these debates and talk about, very specifically, how I’m going to fight for the people of this state, for the middle class who need a voice. And Linda McMahon showed that she’s ready to come to these debates and use talking points that she’s borrowed from Republican website, but she can’t be specific about how she’s really going to stand up for us as a senator… I think Linda McMahon made it very clear that she doesn’t have any real idea on how she’s going to fix this economy, or preserve Social Security or fight for civil rights. I’ve been fighting my entire life for the people of this state and I’m going to be ready to do this job on day one.”

Reporter A: “Chris do you want to talk about the defense of marriage stumble she had, when she used the word ‘America,’ instead of Connecticut?”
Murphy: “Listen, I think the fact that she gave a 10-second answer to a question about civil rights for Connecticut residents displays  how weak her commitment is to stand up to the Republican right wing. I am going to fight with every bone in my body against the social right in Washington that’s trying to strip away women’s health care rights and rights for people based on their sexual orientation. Linda McMahon clearly didn’t understand the law today on gay marriage, but she also revealed that she’s not really willing to go to Washington to fight her party. And it would be a disaster for the people of this state if they sent a Republican to Washington who is going to gladly empower the agenda to destroy civil rights for minority in this country.”

Reporter A: “Did you have some advice for President Obama somewhere along the line?”

Murphy: “Yeah, you know President Obama let Mitt Romney get away with this lie about the (federal ACA) health care bill cutting Medicare by $700-billion. The health care bill reduced the rate of growth of Medicare by $700 billion and it did so by taking money out of the pockets of insurance companies and drug companies and putting money in the pockets of beneficiaries. So, you know, the president made a mistake by not pushing back on Romney’s lie and I wasn’t going to let Linda McMahon get away with trying to claim that the health care bill cut Medicare by $700 billion….”

Reporter A: “When you talk about plagiarism in politics, it’s a pretty low bar, isn’t it? Everybody’s taking talking points from various places and repackaging them for their own purposes.”

Murphy: “Well listen, very few of our, you know, ideas in politics are brand new. It is something different to put a plan on your website that lifts word-for-word entire paragraphs and sentences from Republican websites in Washington…Linda McMahon isn’t being straight with the people when she says that she’s got a plan for the people and the economy of the state of Connecticut…It’s a right-wing Republican plan.”

Reporter B: “Would you dispute the accuracy of the McMahon campaign claim regarding hearing attendance? We’ve tried to ask you and ask your campaign several times and don’t seem to get a direct answer.”

Murphy: “Yeah, I haven’t seen her exact numbers. The point is, that I tried to make today, is that I have a 97 percent voting attendance record in Congress and Linda McMahon has a 20-percent voting attendance record when it comes to the basic civic responsibility to choose your elected leaders. Linda McMahon hasn’t even bothered to show up to vote in Greenwich over the last 28 years and ultimately, as I’ve said over and over again today, I think this race needs to be about the issues that people care about. And I think we largely focused on those issues today…”

Reporter A: “Don’t you think you’re giving her a pass, though, on the committee attendance stuff?”

Murphy: “Um, no, I think that Linda McMahon is wrong on this. I’ll stand up for my work ethic on any day of the week. The reason why we’re building a new Army Reserve center in Danbury, we’re building a new industrial park in Waterbury, why we’re building a new commuter rail line through Meriden is because I’ve played above my weight when it comes to fighting for projects for my state. And Linda McMahon’s going to continue to attack, you know, my character, my personal finances and my hearing records because she can’t win a race that’s focused on the issues that this debate was really about.”