U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Republican Leora Levy in their only televised debate Credit: Courtesy of WFSB

In their first and only televised debate U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Republican Leora Levy clashed over the economy, energy policy and reproductive rights. 

Levy, who won the Republican primary with the support of former President Donald Trump, didn’t stick around to answer questions from reporters after the debate, went after Blumenthal’s previous statements about his time during the Vietnam War. 

“Just as my opponent misled the American people on whether he served in Vietnam. He said he did when he didn’t. Whether he attends a Communist Party, he said he didn’t and he did. Once again, I’m sure how we can believe much of what he said,” Levy said.

Blumenthal apologized about Vietnam during the 2010 campaign and he did not respond to Levy’s statements on the issue Wednesday.

Levy’s comments about Vietnam came during questions about the economy and inflation. 

Levy said Blumenthal was wanted about pandemic relief spending by Larry Summers and others and “you ignored them.” 

“This inflation was deliberately inflicted on us by the Biden policies voted for by my opponent,” Levy said. 

She said the first thing she would do if elected is stop the spending. 

Blumenthal said he would look to restore the child tax credit and implement a windfall profits tax on big oil companies. He didn’t engage on the underlying causes of inflation, but said he was proud of the federal programs that helped small businesses through the pandemic. 

“I’m proud that we stepped up and we did it in a bipartisan way,” he said. 

On the issue of abortion and contraception, Levy said the Dobbs decision sent the issue of reproductive rights “back to the states where it belongs.” 

She said she’s “personally pro-life”, but that she supports abortion in certain situations like rape, incest, and the life of the mother. She said abortion is codified in Connecticut “so nobody in Connecticut has lost any of their rights.” 

Blumenthal has been a long-time supporter of reproductive rights and said the decision is between a woman and her doctor, not the states. 

“I trust women to make decisions about their own health care,” Blumenthal said. “My opponent wants to give those decisions to government officials or politicians.” 

Recent polls show Blumenthal with a double-digit lead over Levy, who has trailed in fundraising and name recognition.