Colin McEnroe really nailed it in his Courant blog post about this morning's debate. Republican candidate Linda McMahon showed up, but didn't impress by a long shot:
McMahon was surprisingly bad. There are two ways to prepared for a debate. (1) You can really immerse yourself in the issues that and make sure you know how you want to talk about them. (2) You can memorize answers.Chris Murphy stuck to the issues, and clearly he is the one who has an understanding of them.
McMahon had pretty clearly done the latter for at least some of her preparation. She had also been coached on a particular kind of “shame on you” scolding session she needed to do, intended for future use in commercials. (She went out of her way to do two takes, just in case.) But that still left a lot subjects she just wasn’t ready for.
The debate slipped away from her exactly as she answered (or didn’t answer) a Diaz question about payroll taxes. Diaz pressed her a little more. Still no real answer. Then Murphy pounced: “That was a minute and 30 seconds of ‘I’m not going to tell you what I’m going to do if you elect me.’ ”
As opposed to Ms. "Sunset" McMahon. Some of the people who commented on the debate referred to McMahon as "ignorant", "unprepared", and "Palin-esque".
As the issue-based battles started slipping away from her, McMahon upped the ante on the personal attacks. If you’re a little tired of the way this campaign has been almost exclusively about attacks on character and very little about the issues, let the word go forth that McMahon was far more reliant on this strategy than was Murphy on Sunday. Paradoxically, late in the debate she unsheathed a new kind of negative rhetoric, claiming that Murphy had expected a coronation and instead found himself in a tough campaign with a serious woman. The paradox: never before in this campaign had she seemed less like a serious woman. She seemed like a silly woman who had attempted to substitute recent study sessions for the years of immersion one might expect an aspiring senator to have had. Even in her summation, when most candidates return to their biggest themes, she used the time to peck at Murphy about a supposed sweetheart mortgage.Seems like McMahon has only one tool in her shed, and that's personal attack. She's a political dilettante, and everyone is starting to see it.
Meanwhile, Chris Murphy is a seasoned legislator who's been fighting for Connecticut citizens for many years. And a heck of a nice guy, too.