There have been a host of Republican candidates for Senate -- chief among them Sharron Angle and Rand Paul -- who have taken heat this election cycle for ducking the press. Connecticut Senate aspirant Linda McMahon is not one of them. The former wrestling executive has not gone out of her way to avoid the media. She has, however, made some fairly interesting decisions about what press questions she will and won't answer.
In the past few weeks, McMahon has studiously refused to talk about what she would like to see done to both Social Security and Medicare. The Connecticut Republican has been upfront with her belief that the entitlement programs need reforming. She's argued that they are both going bankrupt and, in the process, bankrupting the country. But when pressed for specific remedies she's insisted that those two topics are not campaign issues.
"Here's my position: I really do think we're going to have strengthen all of our entitlement programs, but that's not really a discussion for the campaign trail," McMahon said late last week. "I think that really needs to be in the legislative arena where we can have bipartisan debate and really talk about that earnestly."
"She has never endorsed a specific entitlement reform," Ed Patru, McMahon's spokesperson told the National Review Online, the week prior. "There are no plans on that end for the campaign at all. She believes any plans for Social Security or Medicare must be divorced from the hyper-partisan arena of the campaign and be done in the legislative process."
While hardly a profile in political courage, McMahon's avoidance of specific Social Security and Medicare proposals has an obvious strategic purpose. Instead of choosing between a platform of more intense privatization (as embraced by some members of the GOP) or one that avoids deep cuts (as preferred by most of the public), she's avoided the topic altogether.
What's driven Democrats in Connecticut mad is not just the notion that a campaign is somehow an inappropriate time to discuss entitlement reform. Members of both parties have said they want to wait for the recommendations of the president's deficit commission before weighing in on the matter. It's that McMahon has managed to do this while presenting herself to voters as a savior of Social Security and bludgeoning her opponent, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, for supposedly cutting Medicare benefits with his support of Obamacare.
Below are just a few of the mailers going around Connecticut, as passed to the Huffington Post by a Democratic source: