On matters of public policy, Democrat Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon don’t have a lot in common
But when sketching their biographies for the voters, the two candidates for U.S. Senate are striking similar themes.
Both Murphy, the son of a partner at a prestigious law firm who grew up in a Hartford suburb, and McMahon, the multimillionaire former executive of a wrestling and entertainment company, are highlighting their families’ experiences in low-income housing.
McMahon’s first commercial of the 2012 cycle opens with her speaking about her hardscrabble roots as a girl in North Caroline.
“When I was born, my family lived in low-income housing until my dad built the little house that I grew up in,” McMahon says, as a black-and-white photo of a little girl in black Mary Janes sitting with a man on the front stoop — presumable McMahon and her father — flashes on the screen.
“I’m standing here, as my mother always reminds me, one generation removed from poverty,” Murphy said. “She grew up in the housing projects of New Britain, Connecticut.”
But Murphy and McMahon use their family anecdotes to relay different points.
For McMahon, the message meshes with her small-government ethos. She often speaks about how she built the WWE through hard work and a can-do attitude. In McMahon’s world, government does best when it gets out of the way.
Murphy believes government does have a role to play in helping those on the bottom rung and he cites his mother’s life story to prove that point.
Murphy says his mother “understood there was a deal in place: that if she worked hard and played by the rules, that her government, her community, was going to wrap its hands around her and make sure that she could succeed: public housing, public education, college loans, a job across the street for her father through federal contracts.”