Norwich Bulletin: McMahon afraid to answer the tough questionsJune 24 2012
Please read the full article at The Norwich Bulletin.
According to Linda McMahon’s campaign manager, Cory Bliss, McMahon won’t be doing any editorial board meetings with any newspapers prior to the Aug. 14 primary.
Why? Because that’s what they’ve decided.
Which raises the question, what is the U.S. Senate candidate afraid of?
That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is me.
Well, not just me, every journalist in the state.
The McMahon campaign likes control. It’s a well-scripted campaign, and sticking exactly to the script is the top priority. The problem, however, is that journalists don’t always stick to the script, and that causes the campaign problems — nightmares.
Take, for example, the minimum-wage flap from the 2010 campaign.
McMahon was attending an event to pick up the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a group that opposes increasing the minimum wage. She was asked if she thought the minimum wage should be reduced. She replied, “It ought to be reviewed.”
Then she was asked if she knew what the current minimum wage rate was. She didn’t. She also was asked if any of her WWE employees earned minimum wage. She didn’t know that, either.
That’s the problem when you work off-script.
It happened again last week. While making a photo-op stop at the gates of Electric Boat, she was asked if she could support a BRAC (base closure and realignment). She said she could, provided she saw what the proposed cuts were first.
Unfortunately, that’s not how BRAC works, a point that two of her opponents — Republican Chris Shays and Democrat Chris Murphy — leaped on. The proposed cuts are made after the vote to support a BRAC is taken, not before.
Getting tripped up with a simple, yet nonscripted question, is one thing. Imagine the nightmare for the campaign of having her sit down with an editorial board asking questions for an hour on a wide variety of nonscripted issues.
She’s done it before
The decision not to do editorial board meetings isn’t a surprise. It’s a repeat of the 2010 campaign.
After McMahon won the 2010 Republican primary, I contacted her campaign to setup an editorial board meeting for the purpose of our general election endorsement. Realizing that schedules were tight, I gave the campaign the option of picking the day and time — which it did.
But the day after my Sunday column ran that mentioned she was meeting with the board that week, and that the interview would be live-streamed on our website, the campaign called and said they had no such meeting on their schedule — and denied they ever agreed to it.
After I forwarded them a copy of their own email where “they suggested” that date and time, they said they would try to re-schedule. But they never called back with another date. Then they stopped replying to emails inquiring about a new date. Finally, they simply stopped taking or returning phone calls.
That’s pretty much been the same pattern this year. Emails sent in May and June asking for an editorial board meeting were ignored, as were followup phone calls. But in the half-dozen emails or phone calls when they wanted something, the answer to a meeting was always “we’re working on it.”
But according to what Bliss said Friday, it seems they weren’t.
Apparently, it’s not part of the McMahon script.