Dodd Challenger Crashes The Tailgates

by Ben Johnson | November 23, 2009 10:40 AM | | Comments (1)

newversionLinda_McMahon.jpgBringing her campaign to the morning bacchanalia outside the Yale-Harvard Game, U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon (pictured) declared her trust in President Obama on Afghanistan — but not on health care reform.

McMahon, one of five Republicans running to unseat Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd in Connecticut in 2010, brought her campaign to New Haven Saturday. She circulated among the revelers at tailgate parties outside the Yale Bowl before the opening kick-off of the annual late-November Ivy League football showdown. McMahon led Dodd in the most recent Quinnipiac University poll on the race.

Seeking to turn football fans’ attention briefly to that race Saturday, McMahon said she would vote against the health care reform legislation currently before the Senate. President Obama is pushing the reform plan. Dodd is a prime sponsor of the bill currently before the Senate. It aims to cover 31 million uninsured Americans, require everyone to buy insurance, block insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and create a voluntary “public option” government-run insurance plan for low-income people. It also carries an $848 million pricetag.

That pricetag’s too high, McMahon told voters outside the Yale Bowl Saturday.

“I think we do need health care reform, but I think there are ways to do it besides raising so many taxes, especially when it impacts businesses,” she said. “I think we need tort reform, and I think you should be able to buy insurance across state lines.”

Dodd and other proponents have cited an estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that the measure would cut the federal deficit by $130 billion over the next decade and another $650 billion over the next.

McMahon wasn’t persuaded.

“I think the bill is just overwhelming, too much big government, with or without the public option,” she said. “It’s too much big government and too much spending. I do not believe that this bill is going to reduce any cost, and I think it’s going to be a higher pricetag than what Congress or the Senate say it’s going to be.”

Hail To The Chief

On Afghanistan, meanwhile, McMahon took a less partisan stance. President Obama is wrestling with one of the most difficult decisions yet in his presidency — how much, or even whether, to boost the number of American troops in that war-torn nation.

McMahon said Saturday that the U.S. needs a clear strategy in Afghanistan. She also said trusts Obama to use all of the information at his disposal to make the right call.

“I’m going to leave it up to the president with the advice of his generals,” she said.

Senator Dodd has also supported Obama’s Afghanistan policy. He has called for clear benchmarks to judge whether any chosen strategy lives up to expectations.

9/11 Question

McMahon_Hershon.jpgMcMahon fielded another hot-potato question from Judy Hershon (at left in photo), who was attending the tailgate with husband Stewart Hershon, a veteran of the Harvard football team and now the team doctor for the New York Yankees. Hershon stopped McMahon to ask her opinion on the upcoming New York City terrorism trial. Republicans have blasted the Obama administration for deciding to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in federal court in New York City rather than in a military court abroad. Democrats like Dodd have largely supported the decision. One of Dodd’s leading Republican challengers, Rob Simmons, blasted him for that position.

“I’m trying to do a poll of any politician I can find on this, since I’m from New York, where the trial’s going to actually take place,” she said.

McMahon hedged her bets on the issue. While New York “has certainly tried other terrorists before,” she noted, this trial will cost New York $75 million.

“I’ll probably have more firm policy statements after the first of the year,” she said.

The answer didn’t gain or win Hershon’s vote — since it turned out Hershon can’t vote in Connecticut’s 2010 Senate election.

Others McMahon spoke to as she walked from tent to tent were concerned with matters closer at hand.

Mario Diaz Cruz, a Harvard graduate and Branford native who now lives in Massachusetts, offered McMahon some campaign advice.

“I think you need to be wearing some Harvard red,” he said.

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Posted by: Mary Waterton | December 11, 2009 11:21 PM

Clueless Chris Dodd did not do his job. He sat on the Senate Banking Committee for years and didn't even see the banking crisis coming until the day it happened.

Peter Schiff, who is running against Chris Dodd, not only saw the banking collapse coming, but was warning about it on television as far back as 2005 and was openly ridiculed by "experts" for saying so. Listen to this amazing collage of television appearances with dates:

Peter Schiff was talking about "subprime" before Chris Dodd even knew what the word meant. He is one of the few people I've heard that understands what caused the economic crisis and how to get out of it without causing a worse economic crisis 1-3 years from now.

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