(Updated 10:44 a.m.) STAMFORD — Supporters began lining up at 8 a.m. for a chance to see first lady Michelle Obama, and by 9:30 a.m. the line stretched around the block.
Mrs. Obama may have been here to stump for U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, but most people in line were here to catch a glimpse of the first lady.
Peggy Grate of New Haven said she left her home at 6:15 a.m. to be here.
“We love those Obama’s,” she said. “We’re so proud of them.”
Her friend, Linda Faye Dowell of Shelton, also was in line and said she was frustrated with partisan politics at a time when the country faces so many problems.
“Republicans are standing on the side-lines when it’s a time when we need to come together,” she said.
Dowell is hoping that Mrs. Obama will be able to cut through some of the partisanship since she’s not the one making the policy decisions, but more importantly the Blumenthal campaign is hoping the first lady will rally Connecticut’s democratic base.
LaChena Clark of New York, who skipped an appointment with a doctor this morning to catch a glimpse of Mrs. Obama, also had concerns about partisanship in Washington.
“This is the most inopportune time for partisan politics,” she said, joking that this should have happened during the Clinton years when the economy was good.
This year Clark sees a lot of candidates in Connecticut and New York sniping at each other without offering real solutions to problems. Her friend, Karen Porter, said smear campaigns have turned her off to politics, but she said she will still be voting on Nov. 2.
In a tight race like the one between Blumenthal and his Republican opponent, Linda McMahon, every vote will be important.
The attorney general, who had been losing ground in every poll until this October, was beginning to be seen as vulnerable by his own party. But the Democrats recently sent him some help with a $1.7 million ad buy. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched a new ad this week that ends with the tagline: “Linda McMahon. A bad CEO. A worse Senator.”
President Barack Obama visited in September to raise money for Blumenthal, and his visit was followed by another from former president Bill Clinton.
McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has promised to spend as much as $50 million of her own personal fortune on the race and until recently her strategy seemed to be working. She had cut substantially into Blumenthal’s lead in the polls.
At the end of September, one poll put the race within the 3-percent margin of error. But Blumenthal seems to have bounced back with new polls showing his lead between 5 and 11 percentage points. The latest Quinnipiac University poll showed only three percent of voters remain undecided about the race.