Entries in Richard Blumenthal (6)


Sen. Blumenthal: Leave Social Security Alone; Fight Waste, Fraud

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., says when it comes to balancing the budget, you better not touch Social Security.

"I believe that we should not be balancing the budget on the backs of people who are most vulnerable and who need government assistance most," Blumenthal told ABC News.  "I think that we will need to address Social Security if the current trends continue sometime after the next ten years or so but not as part of dealing with the deficit."

While cutting Social Security long has been seen as politically perilous, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows the tide may turning.  Forty-six percent of those surveyed support trimming early-retirement benefits, up 10 points from six years ago; and 42 percent favor raising the retirement age for full benefits from 67 to 68 -- up nine points from 2005.

Blumenthal, however, thinks Social Security is fine as it is.

"Social Security will be solvent between now and the year 2037 and if we are embroiled in trying to cut Social Security while balancing the budget, we will do neither," the Connecticut Democrat told ABC News.

Despite widespread criticism of President Obama for not addressing entitlement reform in his recent budget proposal, Blumenthal expressed confidence that Obama would begin leading the conversation about cutting the deficit soon.

"[The president] has set down a marker," Blumenthal said.  "He has provided a beginning for reducing our debt and our deficit, and I'm certainly going to be advocating for even stronger measures."

The stronger measures Blumenthal speaks of involve combating waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare.

"Look, I pursued waste and fraud in Medicare over 10 years as attorney general," Blumenthal said of his tenure in Connecticut.  "What we have won back from waste and fraud is just the tip of the iceberg, just a drop in the bucket.  And I think there are hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe a trillion, in waste and fraud in Medicare that we can recover."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


ABC News: Democrat Richard Blumenthal to Win Connecticut Senate

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Up against the largest self-financed Senate campaign in history, ABC News projects Democrat Richard Blumenthal will win the Connecticut Senate race, based on the exit poll, keeping blue a vulnerable but longtime Democrat seat.

Connecticut was one of three crucial races -- along with Pennsylvania and West Virginia -- that Republicans' had targeted for victory in order to wrest control of the Senate from the Democrats.

Blumenthal, 64, the state's attorney general, successfully weathered a barrage of attack ads funded by the deep pockets of Republican challenger Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and wife of WWE founder Vince McMahon.

McMahon made a record-setting $50 million contribution of her personal fortune to her campaign and gave the Democrat, particularly early on, a surprisingly difficult run. Blumenthal donated $2 million of his own money to his campaign.

Blumenthal will replace Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, who has held his seat since 1981. Dodd chose not to seek a sixth term in January amid falling poll numbers in the wake of the financial crisis.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Hecklers Interrupt Obama at Connecticut Rally

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(BRIDGEPORT, Conn.) -- President Obama's speech at a Democratic National Committee "Moving America Forward" rally Saturday afternoon in Bridgeport, Connecticut was interrupted by a group of protesters who stood up and shouted about global AIDS funding.

The president addressed the protesters directly saying, "We're funding global AIDS, the other side is not." Obama then suggested that the protesters interrupt the speeches of those who don't want to finance the fight against global AIDS.

The group has appeared at other Obama campaign events this election season, including a rally in Boston two weeks ago.

The president stopped in Bridgeport on behalf of Democrat Richard Blumenthal, who is facing former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon in a race to become the state’s next Senator.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


For WWE Fans, No Clothes Barred at Polls

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- A federal judge has decided that wrestling fans in Connecticut can wear World Wrestling Entertainment T-shirts when they go to the polls, ruling that clothing depicting wrestlers' likenesses and the company logo would not be considered an endorsement of Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, the WWE's former CEO.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton on Wednesday ruled that a state law that restricts political advertising within 75 feet of a polling place would not apply to voters wearing WWE clothing.

The lawsuit, brought by the WWE, highlights growing tensions between the multi-million-dollar company and Connecticut Democrats.

The WWE and McMahon's husband, company founder Vince McMahon, say the company has been unfairly maligned during the election, and they have launched a public relations campaign encouraging fans to contact reporters and write letters to the editor of publications attacking the WWE.

In turn, state Democrats accuse the WWE of running a shadow campaign – holding events, running a PR campaign and running stealth ads – and have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for inappropriate interference in the election.

The WWE filed a suit last week against the state after a spokesman for Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz suggested election workers may ask voters to "cover up a hat, a shirt" bearing a WWE logo when they arrived at the polls.

Just prior to the ruling, Bysiewicz tried stepping back from the comments, issuing a memo that said voters could wear wrestling-themed regalia to the polls.

For Connecticut Democrats, the real danger the WWE poses is not from a wrestling fan wandering into a polling station wearing a "Stone Cold" Steve Austin T-shirt, but instead from the WWE, a wealthy organization which reaches directly into people's homes on an almost daily basis.

The complaint filed with the FEC by the state party alleges that WWE events to be held before and on Election Day, as well as corporate commercials that include Linda McMahon's image, break federal electioneering rules.

McMahon's campaign was adamant that "there was no coordination between us and WWE," said McMahon spokesman Shawn McCoy.

"I think what we're seeing from the Democrats is opportunistic partisan politics," said McCoy. "Despite (Democratic Senate candidate) Dick Blumenthal's reputation as attorney general for suing every company he could sue, he's never taken any action against the WWE."

The WWE echoed McCoy, saying it is "not involved in Linda McMahon's campaign."

Calls to the Blumenthal campaign were referred to the Connecticut state party.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


No-Holds-Barred Fight: Connecticut Senate Race Tightens

Photo Courtesy - Getty ImagesIt was supposed to be an easy win in Connecticut -- holding the blue-state Senate seat held by Democrats for almost 50 years, but things went off-script when a former wrestling CEO won the Republican nomination. Now the seat is a must-win for Democrats if they want to keep control of the Senate, and the Democratic candidate, a popular state attorney general who hopes to succeed Sen. Chris Dodd, is facing a tough, well-funded opponent with whom he is locked in a no-holds-barred battle.

Recent polls show Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic candidate, and Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, locked in a tight race.

ABC News asked McMahon, who is running for office on her business expertise, how she would work to reduce the U.S. deficit.

"The reason I've not been specific as to particular programs and I've dealt with it in terms of rolling back non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels because that was an approach that I took as a CEO. You look at, OK, how are you going to cut costs and cut expenses? You can look at a 10 percent cut across the board," she said.

McMahon also said that the U.S. should freeze federal hiring and wages and take "the balance of the stimulus money and pay down the debt."

If McMahon wins, she will be the first Republican in that Senate seat since 1963.

"We've said from the beginning that this would be a tight, tough, competitive race,” Blumenthal said. “A negative [TV] attack is bound to narrow the polls and we expected it, it's happened.”

Part of Blumenthal's difficulties have stemmed from statements he made claiming to have served in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. It turns out he served in the Marine Corps Reserves stateside and never went to Vietnam during his tour of duty.

"I have answered the question about Vietnam saying that I am sorry that I inaccurately described my military record,” the Democratic candidate said. “I am proud of having served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and I think the voters of Connecticut are concerned about the real issues," he told ABC News.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


McMahon, Blumenthal Clash Over Vietnam, Spending At First Debate

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- Hours after Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon deployed a hard-hitting television ad attacking her opponent, Richard Blumenthal, for misstatements he made about his service during the Vietnam War era, the two candidates sparred in person over the accusations at their first official debate of the general election.

“There is nothing new in this ad, and there is nothing new about the McMahon attack on me," Blumenthal, the state’s Democratic attorney general said, adding that he was “sorry” that on a handful of occasions he exaggerated his military service.

McMahon, the Republican former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, released a 30-second ad in advance of Monday night’s debate in Hartford that pointedly asks: “If he lied about Vietnam, what else is he lying about?”

But Blumenthal brought his own ammunition to the forum, raising questions about his whether his GOP opponent supports cutting the minimum wage.

“That's a lie. You know that's a lie,” McMahon said. “I never said it.” Blumenthal also noted that McMahon fired “ten percent of her workers” as a business executive.

“Layoffs are hard, they are really tough to do, but sometimes you have to make those tough decisions to move your company forward,” she said.

From the beginning of the face-to-face meeting between the two candidates, who are vying to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, McMahon characterized Blumenthal as a creature of politics lacking real-world experience and casting herself as an entrepreneur who would bring change to Washington.

While recent polls indicate a tight race, Blumenthal appears to have an edge as the clock ticks down to Election Day.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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