Monthly Archives: September 2010

McMahon accepts small business group’s endorsement, hedges on its agenda

Republican Linda McMahon’s campaign staff abruptly ended a press conference today as the Senate candidate struggled to explain if she endorsed a business group’s call for freezing the federal minimum wage and rolling back mandates on business. Linda McMahon accepts a business group’s endorsement and gets grilled on its agenda (Mark Pazniokas)
McMahon accepted the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business, but she seemed unprepared for questions about the group’s agenda, which includes freezing the minimum wage and simplifying the Americans with Disabilities Act. When a campaign aide cut off questions after less than 8 minutes, it was unclear if she favored freezing the minimum wage — or would consider even scrapping the wage law, which was adopted during the Great Depression. Only when reporters caught up to her as she was exiting a business hosting the press conference did the Republican clarify that she was not for a repeal of the wage law. She said, “That is clearly not my position, no.” Continue Reading →

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Malloy proposes state-backed center for autism services

NEW BRITAIN–Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy on Thursday proposed creating a center for autism and developmental disabilities that would bring together resources for diagnosing, treating and coordinating care for people with autism spectrum disorders. The center would be a private non-profit, but the state would play a key role in better coordinating the work of hospitals, agencies, support groups and other programs that provide services, Malloy said. Dan Malloy discusses his plan for an autism center (Arielle Levin Becker)
The idea would be to make it easier to access diagnostic services and outpatient and inpatient treatment, and to make it easier for parents to get through the often-complex process of getting their children services. Speaking Thursday at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, Malloy said the proposal came from a desire to “get out in front, but late in the game” in addressing a developmental disorder that is estimated to affect an average of one in 110 children. “It’s time to have a central depository of that information and that skill set within the state of Connecticut,” he said. Continue Reading →

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McMahon’s new ads stress contrast with Blumenthal

Republican Linda McMahon is airing a new, softer television commercial that frames her U.S. Senate campaign in five words: “I’m not a career politician.” And today, her campaign intends to complement that ad with a hard look at a previously unexplored chapter of Democrat Richard Blumenthal’s 26-year career in politics: votes cast for taxes and spending as a state legislator in the 1980s. Together, the two commercials exploit and reinforce what is emerging as one of McMahon’s strongest assets, a simple – even simplistic, perhaps — message that matches the mood of an angry electorate. She’s not a pol. He is. Continue Reading →

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Connecticut spared the barrage of advocacy ads–so far

WASHINGTON-There’s the JFK ad. The cap-and-trade ad. And even the “I’m sick of her ads” ad. But if you think the U.S. Senate campaign has been hogging Connecticut’s television airwaves, know that it could get a lot worse. Independent advocacy groups have largely steered clear of airing TV spots in Connecticut’s Senate and House races so far this election cycle, even as they pour millions of dollars into other hotly contested congressional campaigns around the country. Continue Reading →

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The tax cut debate can wait

There weren’t any complaints from Connecticut’s delegation about Congress’s fast exit from Washington this week, even if that meant ending with a whimper instead of a bang. Even those who had been looking forward to a big political brawl over renewing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy said they weren’t disappointed that that fight fizzled. Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District, brushed off questions about whether the Democrats’ message has been muddled by the delayed tax-cut debate. “There’s some danger in having that vote 30 days before an election,” when everyone is in campaign overdrive, said Murphy, who supported nixing the upper-end tax cuts. On the other side of the issue, Rep. Jim Himes, D-4th District, said he would have preferred to have the vote before Nov. Continue Reading →

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Senate Democratic committee buys air time for Blumenthal

Democrats in Washington are officially worried about Connecticut’s U.S. Senate showdown between Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMahon. So much so that the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has purchased $300,000 of TV air time to run ads boosting Blumenthal’s campaign, according to POLITICO. Continue Reading →

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Is the race for governor tightening, or just warming up?

Has the race for governor grown closer, or simply shifted into high gear? While Republican Tom Foley was attributing his gains in Wednesday’s Quinnipiac University Poll to voter frustration with union and other special interest influence, Democrat Dan Malloy said the tighter contest is indicative of greater voter interest – and nothing more. Dan Malloy: ‘I’m happy’ (Keith M. Phaneuf)
“I think it’s great,” Malloy said of the latest survey, which found his previous 9-point lead over Foley whittled down to 3. “It shows people are paying attention. Now everybody (in the media) has to start covering this race. Continue Reading →

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Candidates agree on tourism

After months of sparring over budget deficits, taxes, education and health care, the Connecticut gubernatorial contenders had a hard time finding areas of disagreement Wednesday morning when they tackled the state’s tourism industry. Tom Foley, left, and Dan Malloy at tourism forum (Keith M. Phaneuf)
Democrat Dan Malloy, Republican Tom Foley and Independent Party candidate Tom Marsh each spent more time insisting he was the most committed to tourism promotion than they did actually arguing over the issues surrounding it. After Foley declared he would back a $15 million investment in statewide tourism promotion–which currently has a $1 placeholder in the state budget–Malloy reminded the crowd of nearly 1,000 at the Connecticut Convention Center that he had pledged the same amount in mid-July. “When kids used to come to school and didn’t have their homework, they used to say ‘the dog ate it,'” Malloy said. “Tom just ate my idea.'”
“If Dannel’s for $15 million, I’m for $15.25 million,” Foley quipped. Continue Reading →

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Science studies surge at CSU

WILLIMANTIC – Students like biology major Kyle Rockett, working in state-of-the-art laboratories, are fueling a surge in interest in science careers at the Connecticut State University System. The number of students majoring in science grew by nearly one-third over the past five years at the system’s four universities, with the biggest increases at campuses that opened new science buildings. Eastern Connecticut State University’s new science building (State of Connecticut)
“Enrollment in science departments at Eastern has exploded,” said Carmen Cid, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Connecticut State University, where officials from all four CSUS universities held a press conference Tuesday to highlight science education. The press conference took place in Eastern’s new $64.2 million science building, a giant, high-tech classroom and laboratory center that officials credit with helping spur interest in the sciences. “It was just exciting to be working in a new building,” said Rockett, 25, a senior from Ledyard who said the science building, which opened in 2008, was a factor in his decision to attend Eastern. Continue Reading →

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Poll: Foley cuts Malloy lead to 3

A shift by independent voters has pushed Republican Tom Foley to within three percentage points of Democrat Dan Malloy in the race for governor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Malloy is favored 45 percent to 42 percent among likely voters, giving him a lead within the poll’s margin of error, although a Rasmussen Reports’ survey released yesterday still gave Malloy a 10-point lead. In a Quinnipiac poll two weeks ago, he led 50 percent to 41 percent. The new poll leaves Connecticut’s two open races for U.S. Senate and governor in statistical dead heats with five weeks until Election Day. “Like Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, Foley has been capitalizing on the anti-government feeling. Continue Reading →

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Foley faces ‘The Bibb II’

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy reopened an old wound this week in GOP rival Tom Foley, launching a new ad alleging Foley’s business practices ruined a Georgia textile mill and cost thousands of workers their jobs. But whether the Bibb mill controversy will yield the same results for Malloy as it did for Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele – Foley’s chief rival in the Republican gubernatorial primary, remains to be seen. Foley, who launched his own attack spot earlier this month challenging Malloy’s record as mayor of Stamford, had to scramble back in early August to respond to Fedele, who aired his Bibb commercials less than two weeks before the GOP primary. “There’s no disputing it had a negative impact,” Republican State Chairman Christopher Healy said of the Fedele spots, calling them “unfounded” and “inaccurate.” But “it was only problematic,” he added, “because Tom wasn’t able to respond as quickly.” Continue Reading →

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Will docs shun Medicare over rates?

A looming 23 percent cut in Medicare payments and uncertainty about whether Congress will reverse it has fueled concerns that doctors will stop taking Medicare patients just as the first wave of baby boomers enrolls in the program. Earlier this month, the five-doctor Mansfield Family Practice stopped accepting new Medicare patients. Nationally, nearly one in five doctors now restrict the number of Medicare patients in their practices because of low reimbursement rates and the ongoing threat of cuts, according to the American Medical Association, a doctors’ lobbying group. “This is becoming a real access problem and it needs to be addressed,” said Judith Stein, executive director of the Mansfield-based Center for Medicare Advocacy. Judith Stein: A Medicare Access Problem
The rate cut, set to take effect Dec. Continue Reading →

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A one-day work-week for Congress?

Only in Washington can Wednesday mark both the beginning and the end of the work week. House members just came back into town this morning for the first votes of the week, and they’re hoping to wrap up legislative business by tonight. While the Capitol has been paralyzed in partisan gridlock on everything from tax cuts to food safety, it seems they have found common ground on the benefits of leaving Washington at super-speed. With an increasingly angry and volatile electorate, all incumbents would prefer to be back in their districts campaigning. “Getting back home is the most important thing for me,” said Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District, said today, as he braced for a very long day and a lightening quick week. Continue Reading →

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Dodd gets some final exposure

Sen. Christopher Dodd has a photographer trailing his every last move in the U.S. Senate, documenting the final days of his 30-year political career. Former Hartford Courant photographer Brad Clift is spending the next few days, from dawn ’til dusk, with Dodd and his family, for a photo book they commissioned marking the end of Dodd’s time in the U.S. Senate. “I wish I got this kind of access when I was a journalist,” Clift cracked as he waited for Dodd to come out of a senators-only lunch meeting Wednesday. Clift said the book idea was actually his, but the Dodds readily agreed. “It’s a mutual thing, but the person who is really behind it all is Jackie,” Clift said, referring to Dodd’s wife. Continue Reading →

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