NEW HAVEN — U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon said Tuesday she would back Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s all-or-nothing approach to preserving the Bush-era tax cuts.

“I would push forward to maintain for everyone the tax law that’s in place now,” said McMahon, the Republican nominee.

The position leaves McMahon at odds with Democrat Richard Blumenthal and vulnerable to the Democrats’ claim that Republicans are willing to hold middle-class tax relief hostage to save the richest Americans from a scheduled tax increase.

McMahon in New Haven

Linda McMahon backs Mitch McConnell on taxes.

To neutralize the issue, House Republican Leader John Boehner suggested over the weekend that Republicans could vote for President Obama’s proposal extend the cuts for households earning less than $250,000 if that is the only tax relief possible before the election.

But McConnell struck a hard line Monday, proposing legislation to continue the cuts for all taxpayers. With 41 votes, McConnell has the numbers to block a vote on a middle-class relief.

Asked if she would take McConnell’s side over Boehner’s, McMahon said, “Yes.”

Her position is all or nothing?

“I’m absolutely in favor of keeping the tax rates the way they are today,” McMahon said. “We want to continue to grow jobs an encourage growth.”

McMahon made her comments under a tree at a Mobil station off I-95 in New Haven, where she agreed to meet reporters to talk about a new Quinnipiac University poll on her way to her field office in East Haven.

The poll showed McMahon trailing Blumenthal among likely voters, 51 percent to 45 percent.

McMahon said she was pleased to be only six points behind Blumenthal, a 20-year attorney general with a job approval rating of 70 percent.

“People in Connecticut are concerned about the economy. They are concerned about their jobs. That’s the message I’ve had since I got into this race. I get it. I connect to the people here in Connecticut,” she said.

The poll found 91 percent of voters worried about the economy.

McMahon discounted the poll’s finding that she badly trails Blumenthal among women.

“I was at the Women’s Expo in Hartford this past weekend. I couldn’t move out on the floor, with all the women who were there,” she said.

McMahon said her campaign gave away 1,300 t-shirts at the expo, where they asked every recipient to register to be a volunteer.

“It was incredibly warming to me,” she said.

But the poll found women prefer Blumenthal, 56 percent to 41 percent.

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Mark PazniokasCapitol Bureau Chief

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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