National Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele let Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy answer questions about whether the party is concerned about the baggage former WWE chief Linda McMahon may bring with her to the U.S. Senate campaign.
Healy jumped into respond to the question during Steele’s visit to Republican headquarters in New Britain.
“It’s entertainment. Always has been. The issues around the steroids have been fully vetted. They’re out there for people to see and make their judgments,” Healy said in defense of McMahon, who is running for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat.
“When this steroid issue came out steroids were freely used in a lot of places and a lot of times they weren’t illegal and we learned lessons . . . I think that’s an old story that keeps getting recycled because Dick Blumenthal’s scared about losing to Linda McMahon,” Healy said.
Asked what he thought, Steele looked at Healy and said, “I agree with him.”
Steele initially scoffed at the question about whether McMahon’s ties to the WWE could embarrass the national party.
“Did she authorize the use of steroids in the WWE?” Steele asked, turning the question around on the reporter.
A 2009 Congressional committee investigated steroid use in professional wrestling. McMahon, her husband Vince, and daughter, Stephanie, all were interviewed about the WWE’s drug policy. U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, acknowledged improvements with the drug testing policies, but he said the current programs lacked “independence and transparency” and were unable to prevent use of steroids.
“To say as national chairman, I’m somehow going to be made responsible for decisions made by the WWE?” Steele said. “So I agree with the chairman.”
Asked how the often violent and sometimes sexually explicit programming of the WWE may sit with a party that prides itself on family values, Steele responded by saying, “Have you gone to a WWE match? There’s a lot of families there.”
Speaking in general about the McMahon’s campaign against Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, Steele said, “She’s going to come and smack it down. She’s going to be okay.”
“Look, these things will work themselves out,” Steele said.
Asked about Peter Schiff, the Weston money manager who will primary McMahon on Aug. 10, Healy and Steele said they would support the party’s nominee.
“If he wins we’re behind him just as much as we’re behind Linda McMahon, but your questions were more focused on her,” said Healy, whose wife works for the McMahon campaign.
Steele said he expects Republicans to be competitive in 44 states this election season.
“The people of Connecticut are no different than people anywhere else around the country. They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Steele said. “We’re winning again in the northeast. How crazy is that.”