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McMahon Blames Press For Silence On Social Security

by Hugh McQuaid | Oct 18, 2012 7:43pm
(16) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2012

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Linda McMahon

Linda McMahon hasn’t revealed the specifics of her plan to shore up Social Security, but on the evening of the final U.S. Senate debate she said she has remained mum to keep the press from playing politics with her ideas.

Republican McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is in a close race with Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy for the U.S. Senate, where they each hope to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman. Thursday’s debate, the final one before the Nov. 6 election, took place at the Hartford Hilton and was sponsored by the Connecticut Broadcaster’s Association.

Throughout the campaign Murphy has asserted that McMahon would “sunset” the Social Security program, basing the allegation on an April event when she told a group of conservatives she would consider such a provision.

Though McMahon has accused Murphy of taking her comments out of context, she has declined to get into the specifics of how she might keep the entitlement program solvent. During Thursday’s debate she offered an explanation for her reluctance.

“I’ve not talked about specifics when I’ve been on the campaign trail because they get demagogued and you have no opportunity at all when you go in and put the issues on the table to discuss them,” McMahon said, adding that it’s necessary to reform the program and there are many ways to do it.

McMahon insisted she wouldn’t consider doing anything that would reduce the benefits seniors are getting under the program today.

After the debate, McMahon clarified to reporters that it is mostly they, and not her opponent, whom she considers responsible for “demagoguing” ideas for Social Security.

“Thanks to all of you folks in the media, you’re the ones who primarily do it and bash any of the suggestions that might be made to improve the Social Security, Medicare,” she said.

During the debate, Murphy referred back to McMahon’s comments about sunsetting the program, saying that for four straight debates she’s refused to offer up other options.

“We have to take the few comments that she’s made on the record, like she did to this Tea Party group when she said she would support sunsetting it, as her position because other than that, you just can’t get from her her priorities,” Murphy said.

Following the debate, Murphy said he took McMahon’s “demagogue” comments to be an admission that she won’t tell people where she stands on issues because it might cost her votes.

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Chris Murphy

“She said that she doesn’t give her position on Social Security because she might lose votes, if she gives her position. You have an obligation as a candidate to tell people where you stand even if that wins you some votes and loses you other votes,” he said.

For his part, Murphy said he supports raising the cap on the payroll tax as a way to keep Social Security solvent.

“I think that solves the problem. You know, Social Security has 20 years before it starts taking in less money than it sends out. So if you adjust the cap today, you can solve the issue 20 years from now,” he said.

Murphy said he did not immediately know how high the payroll cap would have to be raised to accomplish that. Currently the cap is at $110,100 a year, meaning anyone who makes more than that pays the same rate.

Most of the hour-long debate covered the same territory and issues the candidates have been squabbling over during the previous three debates and through countless political ads. Time was spent discussing their positions women’s access to healthcare and reproductive rights. The candidates also sparred over who had the best plan to create jobs and economic growth.

But in a race that’s been marked by the exchange of bitter attacks through TV commercials, the debate’s biggest departure from the campaigns’ narratives may have come when both candidates were asked to say something nice about their opponent.

“Given the nasty nature of the advertising and the debates and the campaign press releases, this is an appropriate question… Would you please say something nice about your opponent?” panelist and WTNH reporter Mark Davis asked, getting a laugh out of the mostly reserved audience.

In response, Murphy said McMahon was clearly a very driven woman.

“She’s someone when she sets her mind to something, has shown she can accomplish that. I also note that she has over the last several years made some substantial investments in some Connecticut charities,” Murphy said.

Meanwhile, McMahon chose to praise Murphy’s children.

“Probably the nicest thing I can say about Congressman Murphy are his two little boys. They are so cute,” she said.

The debate format allowed both candidates an additional minute to respond to the nice thing their opponent said about them. Murphy used his to note that McMahon complimented his sons, not him.

Steve Kotchko of the Connecticut Radio Network said McMahon also had another minute to “say warm fuzzy things” about Murphy.

“Don’t push it too far,” she joked.

After the debate McMahon said Murphy must be doing something right, having raised the two little boys. Murphy said he was still waiting for her to say something nice about him.

“She said something nice about my kids, that doesn’t count,” he said.

Though the line of questioning provided some lighthearted moments in an otherwise bitter race, don’t expect the attack ads to let up before November. Both candidates were asked if they were ever embarrassed by the content of their ads. Both stood by their commercials.

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(16) Comments

posted by: NoNonsense2012 | October 18, 2012  10:41pm

Oh, so it’s the media’s fault that voters will just have to trust McMahon to tell us later? It’s not because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and her “plans” don’t make sense? Kinda like saying “sunset provision” (her voice, her words) but not really meaning sunset provision? Give me a break!

posted by: DrHunterSThompson | October 19, 2012  12:01am

DrHunterSThompson

in a few short weeks, we won’t have Linda to kick around anymore.  that makes me want to drink and drive fast.

HST

posted by: Noteworthy | October 19, 2012  6:56am

McMahon is right re: the media and the issue of social security. This is the first article I’ve read that asked Murphy what his plan was to save social security and it shows the Murphy’s only plan is to tax the middle the class more. It also shows Murphy doesn’t know a thing about social security taxes. Through the media and through his advertising though, he has said McMahon wanted to end social security which is a lie.

Over the years, the amount of income subject to social security taxes has climbed. The cap used to be $87K - it’s now $110,000. All income after that is not taxed for social security at all. That Murphy wants to raise the cap even more will hurt the middle class. Who the hell does he think makes $150K a year? Rich people? Murphy should know this just by looking at his own paycheck. After the first $110K, his take home pay jumps.

Fixing social security whatever elements are included will not affect anybody over the age of 55 including all the geezers in Murphy’s ads claiming otherwise.

The fixes currently on the list include means testing, applying social security taxes to those with much higher incomes and creating a doughnut hole for the middlle class wages; raising the retirement age by a couple of years. Murphy should also know this as they are all proposals floating around Washington. Perhaps they’ve been discussed in some of those committee meetings he’s missed.

Whatever the solution, this is an important issue. That the media parrots Murphy’s attacks and never asks him for specifics on his solution does not add to our ability to judge a candidate. It diminishes it.

posted by: MGKW | October 19, 2012  7:24am

Wow! This woman sounds like she is a great devotee of Mitt Romney Just trust me! When you don’t want to alienate the voters—-just blame the press! Kinda goes with her ethically challenged past…be scared be very scared!

posted by: ... | October 19, 2012  9:37am

...

Linda is simply a follower, not a leader. In 2010 she ran against Richard Blumenthal as a diehard Tea Party Republican, releasing more entertainment-level commercials like the two women in the car, and stating her positions to be in line with the far right. She did this because it was the national trend to act like this.

In 2012, she now follows in the steps of Mitt Romney/ Paul Ryan trend. Tell the far right you’re far right, and then go quiet/semi-center with no specifics that add up to a ‘plan’ during the debates and general election. Instead, attack your opponent and blame everything but natural disasters on your opponent and their party.

Remember, her plan to ‘save us’ $500 is and continues to be based upon sustaining the Bush tax cuts (which nearly every member of Congress and the President supports). The plan is banking on congressional failure so she can be elected vote to reinstate it again. But now she’s trending with conservative media pundits who say being tough on the numbers Romney/Ryan released not adding up is partisan. Now that voters are leaning towards Murphy again, go far right and redirect attacks to the ‘media’.

I’m not voting for McMahon not because I disagree with her viewpoint, but that she has no idea how to craft a policy worthy of public discussion and opinion. Her only ability to policy saturate a media with repetitive, emotional that ultimately misguide voters. Just look at the citations in her commercials and actually look them up and you’ll see how far the truth is stretched.

posted by: tin turnip | October 19, 2012  2:49pm

So what are you saying, Noteworthy? That because $60,000 of Chris Murphy’s salary as a Congressman isn’t subject to Social Security withholding, he shouldn’t support raising the cap? He knows that, and he supports it anyway. That’s why he’s a Democrat and you’re a Republican.

posted by: Luther Weeks | October 19, 2012  3:58pm

Luther Weeks

Kind of reminds me of Richard Nixon’s secret plan to end the Vietnam War.

But here is the double hippocracy: 1) She claims, falsely, that Murphy has no jobs plan. 2) If she was correct on that then she should not be criticizing him for keeping it secret and not exposing her own jobs plan.

Note in the recent debate she started to call his plan a ‘plan’ and then changed her word to ‘policy’.

posted by: Mindoflen | October 19, 2012  4:10pm

I am sick of McMahon’s robotic recitation of “my plan, my plan.” It’s like Tatoo on Fantasy Island and also is a fantasy that her plan will become law. If, heaven forbid, she is elected, as a freshman senator, she will hardly be in a position to present “my plan” to anyone. At least Chris Murphy has six years of congressional experience and knows whom to call to get Connecticut its share of federal swag.

posted by: Michael | October 19, 2012  9:41pm

I believe it’s governmental mental abuse aimed at the public, that most younger workers do not think that Social Security will be there for them. The Social Security tax needs a series of modest increases, full removal of the Social Security tax cap, and the Social Security surplus is to placed in marketable bills that simply cannot be used to fund the general budget. Since no candidate is serious about this, they will be looking to delaying & reducing Social Security benefits. The middle class safety net will get chopped up more slowly under the Democrats. Remember to vote your pocketbook.

posted by: ramonesfan | October 19, 2012  10:54pm

Can’t understand who would vote for a boob like Linda.  She has little or no knowledge of public policy, nor does she show any inclination to acquire any.  Even Weicker has labeled her a lightweight, and he used to sit on the Board of Directors of the WWE!

posted by: Noteworthy | October 20, 2012  7:43am

Tin Cup:
Labels mean nothing if the public policy behind it is flawed and dishonest. For the record, I’m a Democrat. I can’t stand the dishonesty associated with some of these issues.

Re: Murphy and his desire to tax the middle class more to cover the government raid on the social security trust fund, it comes down to this. How can Murphy say he’s fighting for the middle class, use McMahon’s wealth as the reason why she wants to “sunset” social security, and then Murphy’s only plan is to tax the middle class families more? That position is either a prostitution of his main reason for voters, or he’s just stupid and doesn’t even understand social security at all or has no knowledge of the alternatives to that tax that have been discussed in DC for the last two years.

RE: ,,,1 - you post the same drivel everywhere.

posted by: Lawrence | October 20, 2012  2:48pm

“Over the years, the amount of income subject to social security taxes has climbed. The cap used to be $87K - it’s now $110,000”

Wow, kinda like there’s almost something called “inflation,” you know?

posted by: SalRomano | October 20, 2012  8:51pm

DrHunterSThompson: Sounds like you are in a suicide run—as you know Obama is going to lose. Don’t take it so hard.  It’s the best thing for America’s survival—HST.

posted by: Concerned Citizen | October 21, 2012  6:47pm

On Nov. 6, upon entering the voting booth, I ask voters to keep these three things in mind: 1) If Mrs. McMahon is afraid that if voters know her real position or plan for Social Security, they will NOT vote for her, it tells us NOT TO VOTE FOR HER because she plans to put the screws to us. It means we will not like what she will do.

2) Mrs. McMahon said she wants to go to Congress to work with President Obama. It means she wants to go to Congress so that the Republicans can take over the Senate. Do you really believe Linda McMahon will work with President Obama better than Chris Murphy will?  That commercial is an insult to every thinking voter. Please bear in mind that the Republican leadership wants to ensure that President Obama serves only one term. 

3) Chris Murphy is right about Mrs. McMahon; she is fiercely determined to get ot Congress at all costs and she will do whatever it takes to get there.  From this voter’s perspective, she is as tough as nails and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  Frighteningly, she has the money to buy ALL the commercials she needs to deceive potential voters. 

Take a look at Linda McMahon’s past record of performance at the WWE.  How many African-Americans worked in her organization and what were they doing?  how many AAs appeared in WWE commercials? What were the majority of women doing in the WWE? Today we see women and AAs in her commercials talking about they believe in her.  for the right price many of us will do anything that does not costs us life and limb.  Money is Power and Linda McMahon is POWERFUL.  Please do not allow yourselves to be bought.  The price we will all pay will be immeasurable.  To blame the press for her not being honest and straightforward with the people she wants to vote for her is both arrogant and deceptive.  Please say NO to Mrs. McMahon and her Millions $$$. Support a hard-working, regular American who has already proved that he can and will work with President Obama to make life better for the 85% who are not rich.

Lastly, McMahon says Murphy votes to cut Social Security.  What Mr. Murphy did was vote to support the Affordable Care Act.  If she says that is wrong, what does that tell you about what she will do?

posted by: SalRomano | October 22, 2012  10:50am

Concernmed Citizen:  Your lengthy tirade agains Linda McMahon sounds like it was written by a “Concerned Democrat” and will be viewed from that perspective. Vote for Linda McMahon—“after you clear your head,” because this country cannot survive the fiscal $5.2 trillion budget deficit demise incompetence that resulted from the Obama-Murphy bankruptcy driven partnership.  “It’s later than you think, and you should start thinking like a Concerned Citizen, before it’s dooms day for all of us!”

posted by: Mindoflen | October 22, 2012  5:19pm

What hubris. What makes these rich people think they can enter the political arena by seeking a to buy a seat in the national upper legislative house that deliberates whether to consent to presidential Supreme Court nominees and international treaties, as well as high-office nominees? In the past six years, we have had to contend with two inexperienced people who thought they could buy their way into this high office: Ned Lamont (who at least served on a school board or some such thing) and Linda McMahon twice. No legislative experience. No idea of how Congress really works (a clue, it has nothing to do with My Plan). And now, she is showing her willingness to throw her party and its presidential contender under the bus by urging people to vote for the president and her!!! I am really afraid that someone might seriously consider this nonentity, who is willing to say anything to get elected, to be our next senator.