Linda McMahon is now being attacked in the Connecticut Senate race for remarks during a Q&A with reporters that have been interpreted as meaning she would be in favor of potentially lowering the minimum wage — and acknowledging that she doesn’t even know what the minimum wage is. And for her part, her campaign is saying she was merely questioning any increases to the wage in the near future.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Bringing The Smackdown: Linda McMahon’s Campaign For Senate, And Her Colorful Pro-Wrestling Past]
As The Day reports, McMahon appeared at an event to receive the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Businesses — an organization that opposes increases to the minimum wage. McMahon was frequently asked by reporters whether she would oppose increases to the wage — and also whether she thinks it should have ever been passed at all.
“The minimum wage now in our country, I think we’ve set that and a lot of people have benefited from it in our country, but I think we ought to review how much it ought to be, and whether or not we ought to have increases in the minimum wage,” said McMahon.
Then things got messier.Here is the transcript from The Day:
Ted Mann, The Day: Should it be reduced now? Since businesses are struggling, as you all described? Would you argue for reducing the minimum wage now?
McMahon: “We have got minimum wages in states, we have got minimum wages in the (federal) government, and I think we ought to look at all of those issues in terms of what mandates are being placed on businesses and can they afford them. I think we should get input from our business community. We should listen to our small business operators and we should hear what it is they have to say and how it’s impacting their businesses and make some of those decisions.”
Then, to make matters potentially worse, McMahon reportedly acknowledged that she doesn’t even know what the minimum wage is. From the Courant:
McMahon was asked if she knew what the minimum wage in Connecticut is but said she did not know (it’s $8.25 an hour.)
She was also asked whether any employees at World Wrestling Entertainment, the firm she and her husband built, earned minimum wage. She said perhaps some summer interns did, but, once again, she said she did not know.
Here is the video, courtesy of CT News Junkie:
The Blumenthal campaign and labor unions have already seized on McMahon’s statements.
McMahon spokesman Ed Patru sent Ben Smith this statement:
I think a good deal of creative interpretation is needed for anybody to take away from these quotes that she is in favor of reducing the minimum wage. She is clearly saying that we ought to review whether this is in fact the time to raise the rate. It’s impossible to accept the spin that a handful of reporters are putting on this without changing the definition of the word ‘review.’ That word is not one and the same with ‘cut’. Noah Webster, I’m certain, is turning over in his grave today.
The TPM Poll Average gives Democratic nominee Richard Blumenthal a lead of 49.7%-44.6%.