Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon's campaign is pushing back against a Thursday report that she would consider voting to eliminate the Department of Education, Department of Energy and, possibly, the Environmental Protection Agency.
The former WWE header reportedly told a Tea Party crowd back in April 2010 that she was positively disposed towards dismantling those three government agencies, according to a story in the Connecticut Mirror. Democrats pounced on the report, citing it as evidence that McMahon had forfeited principle in the hope of currying favor with conservative activists.
But a spokesman for the Connecticut Republican's campaign told the Huffington Post on Thursday that there was nothing definitive about what McMahon said back in April. She called "for a thorough review of these departments," said Ed Patru, "and she makes it clear that until that happens, she can't take a position in favor of dismantling."
Joe Markley, a Tea Party activists and Republican candidate for state Senate in Southington who hosted the April event, told the Huffington Post he couldn't recall whether McMahon had explicitly advocating for the dismantling of the Department of Education. "There were 25 other questions," he noted.
But video footage from the event suggests that McMahon was trying, essentially, to split the difference. Asked which government agencies should be eliminated she names several. But she stops short of calling for a full dismantling (merely a good trimming) by insisting the she doesn't have enough familiarity with their structures to know if that would be appropriate.
"I'm not sure that I know an agency should be totally dismantled and done away with until I've had an opportunity to look at it more," said McMahon. "Some that come to mind that I think would have a first look: one would be the Department of Education. You have got 4,200 employees in the Department of Education. Some federal funding comes from that department also from two or three other different departments to local schools. But honestly, I can't imagine that we need 4,200 people to operate an educational system, which has not improved much over the last 30 years. As I said earlier, I'm a strong, strong proponent of state and local educational systems... I don't think that it all ought to come from Washington.
"Department of Energy and the agency, the EPA, underneath that. I think we really need to take a look at that. It is about energy and I just think they look at all of these different aspects come in and regulate. Those are the two that come to mind right off the top of my head."