McMahon, Shays Face Off on NBC

The two Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls met for their second and final debate Wednesday evening.

Linda McMahon thinks middle class tax cuts are the answer for Connecticut residents and Americans alike. For Christopher Shays, the answer is growing the economy. 

The two Republican U.S. Senate hopefuls faced off Wednesday night in their second of two debates, which aired on NBC Connecticut.

Shays, who represented Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District for 21 years before being defeated by U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D) in 2008, reiterated that McMahon’s business experience—serving as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment—did not qualify her to represent the people of Connecticut in Washington.

“I wouldn’t want Hugh Hefner as the next U.S. Senator, and I wouldn’t want Linda McMahon,” Shays said. “She’s been in an arena that is a make-believe arena.”

McMahon rebutted Shays, saying Washington doesn’t need another career politician.

“What we need is a Senator that’s a job creator,” she said.  

When asked how they’d turn around America’s debt crisis—$16 trillion, or $53,000 per person—McMahon said she’d champion a middle class tax cut which would put $500 a month in the pockets of “every average family of four in Connecticut.” Furthermore, she said her plan would reduce the tax rate on businesses from 35 to 25 percent.

McMahon said her solution included “using [her] experience in business to make sure we stop spending more than we make,” she said.

For Shays, the answer to America’s debt woes isn’t vested solely in tax cuts for the middle class.

“What we’re seeing now is not normal,” the former Congressman said. “It’s not normal to have 15 to 25 million people unemployed. It’s not about a middle class tax cut, it’s about growing the economy. It’s about restoring the promise of America, that every generation will be better than the next one.”

How would the candidates help create jobs in Connecticut?

McMahon said it’s important to “get rid of the loopholes, get rid of the special interests, so we can move forward.”

“We need to make sure we have a competitive tax rate,” she said, again adding her desire to see business tax rates to move from 35 to 25 percent.

Shays said he’d like to see the tax rate move from 35 to 15 percent and said his ten-plus terms in Congress have given him the resources to be an effective Senator.

“The bottom line is I have the experience and the knowledge to get it done,” Shays said. “Mrs. McMahon says she has a plan. I don’t think it adds up. She doesn’t pay for her plan.”

Shays said should McMahon be sent to Washington, she’d be the “one hundredth senator there.”

“She’s going to be a junior senator,” Shays said. “I’ve had 21 years of experience knowing what to do. I’m not going to be a junior senator.”

McMahon again said Washington doesn’t need another career politician—either Shays, or likely Democratic Senate candidate Chris Murphy.

What about partisan politics?

“We can’t continue this incredible stalemate that we have,” McMahon said, adding she’s demonstrated the ability to bring people together on differing ideas in the private sector. 

Shays said his congressional record shows his ability to reach across the aisle.

“Every bill I introduced as a member of Congress, I sought to [include] a Democrat to co-sponsor [it],” Shays said. “I find people from both sides of the aisle.”

When given time for their closing remarks, Shays offered his desire to engage in more debates with his Republican opponent.

“I wish there were more, but Mrs. McMahon doesn’t want to have any more debates,” he said. “Don’t let someone who [wants to spend] $60 million buy this election. Choose someone who has the experience, the knowledge and the ability to hit the ground running. I will get our country back on track because I know what to do and how to do it.”

McMahon said she is running for Senate because she wants to make sure there are good opportunities available for her grandchildren.

“I’m the only candidate in this race that has a verifiable plan that will cut taxes,” McMahon said. “We don’t need more career politicians in Washington. I want to make sure our middle class has more money in its pockets. If you’ll stand with me, we’ll make sure our children will live the American dream as I have."

Republican voters will decide who will represent the GOP on the ticket on Aug. 14.

Kathy Velky July 19, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Jobs left when Shays was in office before, he had his chance. He also moved out of CT after he lost the election. That speaks for itself....taxes are too high.
Palin Smith July 19, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Christopher Shays is a political anachronism stumbling to gain a foothold on the steep trail towards American renewal. There will be no new “Shays Rebellion” in the formation of this New Republic. His place is fixed among other observers perched in the viewing stands of history watching as new blood and new ideas sprint to finish the bold task of refreshing the American Dream. History shows that across the board tax cuts stimulate the economy causing a surge in new government revenues. If lower tax rates provide more money for the government to spend, then why would any sentient elected official reject more tax cuts? It makes no sense. Think about it. The answer is obvious and disconcerting.
Sean M July 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
We do not need government officials who know how to create jobs. That is not a role of government. We need someone who will do the heavy lifting and provide real leadership. I have spent a lot of time around both Republicans. Shays tells you what he believes, even if he knows you are going to disagree. McMahon talks in generalities and platitudes. Shays is with conservatives on most of the major issues. He is willing to buck the GOP and we need that. There are too many Republicans in Congress that tow the line and do not speak out. I respect Chris Shays as a person. He will sit and listen to what people say and digest it. I have seen him change his stances when he is given information. That is what we need in DC right now. Shays is the better of the two candidates.
Kathy Velky July 19, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Shays had 20 years to do heavy lifting.... job after job left the Bridgeport area. We need new people with new ideas because the old ideas and career politicians failed. Not only do you have to listen to the people ....you have to be a shaker and mover. I believe Linda will WORK FOR THE PEOPLE of CT. Why did Shays move out of CT after he lost the election? I do know Shays to be a liar and not transparent in his political dealings. CT needs new and fresh ideas.
Sean M July 22, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Kathy, Shays was behind the Contract with America, which is the biggest positive for Republicans in generations. Reagan was a close second. McMahon has no ideas. She is all frosting and no cake. You get platitude answers from her. She has repeatedly hired people to tell her what to say. I have spent about the same amount of time around both candidates and I know where Shays stands (I disagree on quite a few issues). I have no idea where Linda really stands. Shays moved because he took a job in the DC area. What should he do? Drive down every day? We do not need fresh ideas, we need the ones that conservatives have been screaming about for years: Balance the budget Shrink government Reform entitlements Shays is there on all of these


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