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The National Republican Senatorial Committee checks in this morning with their response to Chris Dodd's impending retirement (tap shoes optional), and gives a little preview of the Republican message that will be deployed against Dick Blumenthal.
Blumenthal is "Dodd's protege," in the words of Amber Wilkerson Marchand, the NRSC's press secretary, and his "complete disregard for Dodd's actions with Countrywide to see what kind of Senator he would be."
"The last thing the people of Connecticut need is another 20-year member of the old boys' club to represent them in the U.S. Senate," Marchand declares.
Get used to this, however shaky the reasoning. (The last thing the people of Connecticut need is someone who thinks that a state attorney general with no criminal jurisdiction is supposed to monitor a U.S. senator's personal finances telling them how to vote.)
Notwithstanding the way some Democrats are talking about Blumenthal's entry into the race (for example former [ack - should have said "gubernatorial"] candidate Bill Curry on this morning's Where We Live), he's not a lights-out candidate, especially not in an ugly autumn for Democratic candidates. Republicans will punch everything they think they can in Blumenthal's long public record, from the familiar assertion that he files too many lawsuits in the course of his work to the liberal core principles that reportedly made him a no-go for a federal judgeship under Bill Clinton.
He is certainly the favorite. But Simmons doesn't sound like he's going anywhere, neither does McMahon, and this will remain a hot-tempered race even after national media has forgotten about it, even without Chris Dodd to kick around anymore.