HARTFORD - (AP) - The two candidates for the state's open U.S. Senate seat took aim at each other's recent TV ads in their first face-to-face debate on Monday, with Republican Linda McMahon saying her position on the minimum wage has been misconstrued and Democrat Richard Blumenthal saying the latest criticisms about his military record are nothing new.
The matchup, broadcast on live television, was feisty at times, with McMahon, a former wrestling company executive, accusing the longtime Democratic attorney general of being on the government payroll for all his adult life, not understanding what it takes to create jobs and misrepresenting her stance on minimum wage ratelevels.
McMahon said Blumenthal's latest ad makes it sound as though she supports cutting the current rate level - a question she was asked about by reporters last week but didn't directly answer.
"That's a lie. You know that's a lie. I never said it,"McMahon said, calling on Blumenthal to pull the ad.
Following the debate, Blumenthal accused McMahon of playing "fast and lose with the facts," reiterating how McMahon did not voice support for the current minimum wage rate during her exchange with reporters.
Blumenthal also accused McMahon and her company, World Wrestling Entertainment, of accepting $10 million in state tax credits while laying off 10 percent of its work force. He said it was another example of McMahon putting profits above people, a common refrain for his campaign.
McMahon acknowledged her company laid off workers in 2009 but said it has been growing.
"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.
McMahon and Blumenthal are hoping to fill the seat now held by the retiring U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd.
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