Linda rather not

The Day invited Linda McMahon, who is again seeking the Republican nomination to run for U.S. Senate from Connecticut, to sit down with the editorial board. She declined. It appears to be nothing personal, however, because Ms. McMahon is apparently turning down such requests from all newspapers.

"The campaign has decided not to do pre-primary editorial board interviews. Instead, we will focus on our grassroots campaign - meeting with voters - to share Linda's plan to get Connecticut back to work and turn our economy around," wrote Communications Director Erin Isaac.

Then we can count on a post-primary meeting with the candidate if she wins the Aug. 14 primary? we asked.

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," was the campaign's reply.

For the record, former Congressman Chris Shays, her opponent for the Republican nomination, has already stopped in and meetings are scheduled with both Democrats competing in the Senate primary, U.S. Rep. Chris Murhpy and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.

It is a candidate's prerogative whether to meet with editorial boards. It appears the McMahon team has made a calculation that having the candidate questioned by a bunch of journalists would do more harm than good. The candidate's decision to turn up her nose at editorial writers will probably even win some admiration from the base.

But it shows a lack of confidence by and in the candidate. The knock on Ms. McMahon is that she begins to flounder when forced to get past the talking points. The refusal to meet with editorial boards reinforces that perception. Her six-point plan for reviving the economy is little more than a series of those talking points. It calls for middle-class and business tax cuts, but not how to make up for the lost revenues that would enlarge the debt. It promises spending cuts, but again without specifics, and vows to end "job-killing regulations" (like environmental protections and occupational safety rules? The plan doesn't say).

The best politicians relish the give-and-take of an editorial board meeting, but a candidate better be prepared to back up his or her positions. It appears that Linda McMahon recognizes she is not.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.


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