In a campaign ad released Friday, President Barack Obama appealed to Connecticut voters to support Democrat Chris Murphy. The president said Murphy will be a partner in the Senate with a plan to help the middle class.
The 30-second TV spot comes with just four days left in the tight race, as Murphy and his Republican opponent, Linda McMahon, gear up for their get-out-the-vote efforts.
Although recent polling has suggested Murphy has a slight edge over McMahon, the same polling suggests the president is more popular in Connecticut than either senate candidate.
In the short commercial, Obama looks into the camera and says:
“I know Chris Murphy. Chris has a real record of job creation here in Connecticut, and a jobs plan that puts the middle class first. And I know Chris Murphy will always stand up to those who would turn back the clock on women’s health. I know the stakes are high. And I need Chris Murphy as a partner in the United States Senate. Connecticut, I hope you will support him.”
McMahon’s campaign also has tried to sway voters planning to cast ballots for Obama. In late October, they ran an ad featuring voters planning on supporting both.
But the president’s reference to Murphy’s jobs plan in Friday’s ad seemed aimed at dispatching a narrative the McMahon campaign has been forging since the August primary: that Murphy has no plan to put people back to work, and McMahon does.
Speaking to a group of business executives gathered at the Hartford Club for a MetroHartford Alliance luncheon on Friday, McMahon sought to reinforce that message.
“I have a plan to put people back to work and grow the economy and he doesn’t have a plan,” McMahon said. “He has said he doesn’t have to talk about his plan because he has a record. And my view is, I don’t like his record very much.”
McMahon’s six-point plan recommends, among other things, reducing federal spending by 1 percent each year, as well as cutting the middle class tax rate from 25 percent to 15 percent and extending the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone. She has made the plan a centerpiece of her campaign.
“There are many issues that surround the entire campaign. I think this at the root. This is the crux of what’s going on in our state and our country,” McMahon said of the plan.
McMahon said that if she is elected she will push to get the plan passed through the Senate by building coalitions with other lawmakers.
But some question whether McMahon, as a junior senator, would be able to convince Senate leadership to push her plan.
In a short interview after the event, MetroHartford Alliance President Oz Griebel had some kind words for McMahon. But he said her plan likely wouldn’t be realized in the Senate. For one thing, the senate doesn’t draft budgets. While McMahon’s plan is not a draft of the federal budget, it does suggest changes to the budget.
“Even if you’re a senior senator, you’re not presenting the budget. The president and the administration present the budget. It’s how you react to that,” he said.
Griebel, a Republican who ran an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010, said Friday’s luncheon was designed to let the candidate talk about her ideas to business executives. He said they weren’t designed to be partisan. Murphy spoke at a similar event in early October.
Griebel said McMahon’s plan wasn’t the only one unlikely to see the light of day.
“I’ve said this to every candidate, with all due respect — plans are kind of worth the paper they’re written on,” he said.
But that’s not to say they’re useless. Griebel said they offer insight into candidates and their priorities.
“What you’re trying to gauge when they talk about a plan is how somebody thinks. What are the principles that are important to them,” he said.
Griebel said he and others in the private sector like some of the priorities McMahon’s plan highlights, like reducing business costs, the cost of government. The state’s unemployed and under-employed are also important priorities, he said.
At the end of the day, Griebel said it’s not about which party the ideas come from, it’s about fixing problems and the MetroHartford Alliance will work with whoever wins the election.
“I respect anyone who’s willing to put their energy and name on the line to campaign for this. Look, whoever is elected on Nov. 6 — on Nov. 7 the problems are still going to be there and we, as an organization, are going to work with whoever the winner is because it’s about solving problems,” Griebel said.