Clinton rallies the faithful
in support of Chris Murphy
By JC REINDL
Day Staff Writer
Waterbury —Former President Bill Clinton stopped in Connecticut Sunday to support Democrat Chris Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign, telling an audience of about 2,600 that his Republican opponent, Linda McMahon, stands for the same failed policies as her party's presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
In a nearly half-hour long speech at The Palace Theater in downtown Waterbury, Clinton took aim at the core of McMahon's campaign message: She has a jobs plan and Murphy doesn't.
"The Murphy plan is far better for you, the average citizens of Connecticut and the United States, than the McMahon plan, which is the Romney plan," said Clinton, the nation's 42nd president.
Much of the state's Democratic Party establishment was in attendance, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
Clinton dismissed McMahon's six-point plan as "the same old same old," containing "more tax cuts for higher-income people and big cuts to pay for it in education and training and science and technology — in the future of America."
He said Murphy's plan, by comparison, is a call to "buy American with American tax dollars, to invest in new technology, in bringing manufacturing back, in supporting small businesses and clean energy and education."
But McMahon's campaign spokesman, Todd Abrajano, said there is nothing in McMahon's plan that would cut education, training or science. He said the plan grants tax relief for many middle-class families, lowering their federal income tax rates to 15 percent from 25 percent.
"It is very clear President Clinton doesn't know what is in Linda's plan" Abrajano said. "There would be no tax cut for the 25 percent bracket under Congressman Murphy's plan — that would be 'the same old same old' that President Clinton was talking about."
Clinton is the latest big-name politician to journey to Connecticut for one of the two candidates. New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., made separate visits this month to campaign with McMahon.
A new Quinnipiac University poll last week showed Murphy overcoming earlier 3-point and 1-point deficits to lead McMahon by 6 percentage points. However, recent Rasmussen and Mason-Dixon polls still have the race in a statistical tie.
The former president argued that Murphy and President Obama have better plans for long-term debt reduction than McMahon and Romney. He faulted the two Republicans for offering few specifics on how the nation would afford their proposed tax cuts and military spending.
"Remember what your mother told you," Clinton said. "If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."
Clinton spent several minutes on the auto industry. He said McMahon, like Romney, didn't support the 2008-2009 auto bailout that began under President George W. Bush and was significantly expanded under President Obama. The bailout had an impact beyond just Michigan and Ohio, Clinton said, as it saved countless auto supplier jobs throughout the country,
He applauded the Obama administration's new fuel mileage standards and warned that Romney would repeal them. The new rules will require by 2025 that all new vehicles sold in the country average 54.5 miles per gallon, up from a reported average of 28.6 miles per gallon last year.
In his remarks Sunday, Murphy, who represents Waterbury in the 5th Congressional District representative, recounted how it was during one of his campaign's "tougher moments" when he first learned that Clinton would visit.
"I wondered if I could really do this," Murphy said, and then "I got a phone call and the voice on the other end said, President Clinton is coming. And I straightened my spine and I thought to myself, we can do it."
Blumenthal, who defeated McMahon by 12 points in the 2010 Senate race, said Murphy would be a colleague who would add to his vote.
"I don't want his opponent to cancel it out," he said.
"I think I know her better almost than anyone here," Blumenthal said of McMahon, a former wrestling executive. "I know what it's like to have that constant pounding."
He continued: "When I wake up in the morning, like this morning, the first person I think of is Chris Murphy — after I look across the bed and see Cynthia. Because I know what his day is going to be like. I know what it is like to run against a $50 million attack machine."
McMahon was in Watertown today at a "Job Creators for Linda" campaign rally. The honored guest was Sheila Bair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp from 2006 to 2011.
Murphy also told how in anticipation of Clinton's visit, he and his 4-year-old son, Owen, had a talk about former presidents. His son asked, "But daddy, haven't there been any girl presidents."
"Recognizing who was coming, I said, 'Well, you might just have to wait four years,'" Murphy said. "And I'm not talking about Michele Bachmann here!"
Clinton's wife, Hillary Clinton, who turned 65 on Friday, has announced that she will not serve a second term as the nation's secretary of State. However, she hinted to the Wall Street Journal last week that many people have talked to her about staying on.
Asked whether she'll run for president again in 2016, she told the newspaper "I have ruled it out."