Linda McMahon was by no means terrible in last night’s debate. She was just ... predictable. Her serial defenses of her gaffe about the minimum wage were overdone and counterproductive. Her corporatist line was so steady that it was at moments (as others observed last night) almost more honest than Richard Blumenthal’s on items like TARP bailouts.
McMahon’s answer to the question about World Wrestling Entertainment lobbying was evasive and defining. I made note of it at the time, and the Center for Responsive Politics followed the debate by republishing the complete goods. See “Contrary to Linda McMahon Campaign’s Assertions, World Wrestling Entertainnment Lobbied on Legislation,” http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/10/contrary-to-campaign-of-senate.html.
I think the decisive moment in the debate came at the very beginning, when Blumenthal and McMahon each was confronted with the opposition’s core attack ad. It is here that the candidate has an opportunity to turn a 30-second spot into, effectively, a rerun of 120 spots in a row over the course of the hour-long debate.
Blumenthal won that battle. He answered the Vietnam question and it never came up again. McMahon kept answering and answering and answering the minimum wage question, and her exasperation escalated.
Is Linda ready to spring video of Dick cavorting with Eliot Spitzer’s call girl? Short of that, the fundamentals are starting to take hold in this election, and McMahon loses the liars’ sweepstakes.