While the WWE may be engaged in a high profile smackdown with some of the state’s media outlets, its former CEO Linda McMahon won’t be distracted from her race for U.S. Senate.
The wrestling corporation has been pushing back against newspaper editorials characterizing its programing as violent pornography. One came from the Manchester Journal Inquirer’s Managing Editor Chris Powell, who last week said McMahon derived her wealth from “the business of violence, pornography, and general raunch.”
The WWE responded by calling for a retraction and threatening to sue Powell for libel. On Wednesday the company issued a statement further clarifying its position and saying unfair characterization of its content jeopardizes the business.
“WWE refuses to be bullied and will not allow our content to be inaccurately categorized. This This is not about politics or Linda McMahon’s (former CEO of WWE) candidacy. This about protecting WWE’s business and setting the record straight that WWE has never been in the business of pornography,” the statement read.
And for her part, McMahon is staying out of the fight. She referred all questions about the issue to the WWE.
“It’s not a distraction for me because I’m really focused on what I’m doing. That’s all the WWE. I’m focused on, like today, this jobs tour. We’re going to tour 20 jobs before the end of the week,” she said.
McMahon acknowledged there was some focus on the content of the WWE’s programming during the last election cycle but said voters are more concerned about jobs and the economy than they are about television programming.
“It was actually a minor part last year, and I really do believe the folks in Connecticut, as I’ve said before, they are focused on their lives, they’re focused on their children,” she said. “You talk to women in the Sandwich generation, not just women, they’ve got kids who aren’t finding jobs and are coming back home to live and at the same time they’re caring for aging parents.”
On Wednesday McMahon continued her jobs tour, meeting with business owners in central Connecticut. Her last stop of the day was La Petite France, a French bakery and coffee shop in West Hartford.
McMahon said she’s been focused on telling people more of her story than voters got during her unsuccessful run for Senate two years ago. For instance a recent television ad stressed her blue collar background. McMahon said both her parents were civil service employees and she grew up in low-income housing.
“We sort of went all the way back into my childhood, which I really didn’t do during my first campaign, not by intentional omission so to speak, I just didn’t know that would be as important for people to know where I came from,” she said.
The message has been resonating with voters and business owners, she said. Since the last campaign, McMahon has also worked hard to improve her image among women voters. On Wednesday she met with Alexandria Litor, who owns La Petite France with her husband.
Litor, who’s French and can’t vote in the upcoming election, said she liked talking with McMahon, though she doesn’t really follow politics. She said the candidate asked her about issues like running a business while raising a family.
“I think she understands. She’s a woman too and she owns a business and she has kids. She went through the same thing,” Litor said.
However, Litor said she couldn’t say whether McMahon would get her vote if she had one to give, mainly because she wasn’t familiar enough with what the candidate stands for.
“When you have a business and a family, it’s always so busy. I don’t take the time to look around,” she said.
The two talked about business challenges and the changes Litor has made to the bakery since the last time McMahon visited. Litor said she’s been promoting the business on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter but the small bakery remains an authentic French establishment.
McMahon said Litor was doing all the right things as a business owner.
“Stick to what you know. I can attest to that,” McMahon told her.
“But you can always reinvent yourself,” Litor responded.