Name-Calling Mars Connecticut Senate Debate

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WEST HARTFORD — Political debates are generally polite affairs, opportunities for candidates to spar gently over policy points while rehashing their positions and honing their images.

Thursday night\’s televised debate at NBC Connecticut among the five Democrats running for an open U.S. Senate seat was the exception. The hour-long session featured a fiery exchange between one of the lesser-known candidates, a former software engineer from Greenwich named Lee Whitnum, and U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, the front-runner in most public opinion polls.

The two sparred over aide to Israel, one of the central themes of Whitnum\’s campaign. At one point, she calledMurphy a \”whore\” and saying he has his \”head in the sand.\”

\”Elect somebody who is not pro-Israel,\” Whitnum said. \”I\’m pro American. Elect somebody who doesn\’t drink the[American Israel Public Affairs Committee] Kool-Aid.\”

Murphy called Whitnum\’s anti-Israel comments \”out-of-bounds.\”

\”Israel needs friends today more now than ever,\’\’ he said. \”Israel is our ally, Israel is our strategic partner. We need to stand with them today and there\’s not going to be anything that makes me apologize for that…do you tell a friend when they\’re wrong absolutely. But should we stand for this kind of outlandish language about Jewish Americans who advocate for their homeland, should we stand for a candidate who tries to pretend Israel had something to do with 9/11. We shouldn\’t.\”

In her closing statement, Whitnum responded. \”I\’m appalled that when I talk about the neo-conservatives somehow its twisted to be some sort of a racist comment,\’\’ she said.

Gesturing toward Murphy, who was standing next to her, Whitnum said, \”I\’m dealing with whore here who sells his soul to AIPAC, who will say anything for the job.\”

When another candidate, state Rep. William Tong, came to Murphy\’s defense, Whitnum lashed out at him too, calling him ignorant.
Whitnum, who believes the U.S. should stop aiding Israel, acknowledged after the debate that \”I probably came on a little bit strong.\” But she said it is important for \”politicians [to] speak to us honestly.\’\’

Murphy was taken aback by Whitnum\’s harsh language.

\”I had advocated for all of the candidates to be a part of these debates,\’\’ he said during his closing remarks. \”I\’d like to think twice about that with kind of awful language being used on the airwaves.\’\’

This is the first debate that featured Whitnum. She sued the organizers of a similar forum in Norwich last month after she was prevented from participating. Whitnum is also enmeshed in a long legal battle with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Both Tong and Susan Bysiewicz said the debate organizers ought to think twice about inviting Whitnum to future debates. \”After that performance, she\’s proving she\’s not adding a whole heck of a lot to the conversation,\’\’ Tong said.

\”It\’s one thing to have a policy disagreement,\” added Bysiewicz, the former secretary of the state. \”It\’s another thing get personal and start name-calling. That is exactly what the problem is in Washington right now. There s a lack of civility and certainly we don\’t need this kind of name-calling.\”

However Murphy, Tong and Bysiewicz all agreed that another lesser-known candidate, East Hartford\’s Matthew Oakes, added a great deal to the discussion and should have a place in future debates.

Oakes told of facing the threat of foreclosure on his families home, being forced to leave college because he couldn\’t afford it and other tales of hardship. \”If you are poor, if you are disabled … then I\’m your guy,\’\’ he said. \”If you have a neighbor that you really enjoy talking to and having a beer with, then I\’m your guy.\”


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7 thoughts on “Name-Calling Mars Connecticut Senate Debate

  1. David Evans

    There was nothing wrong with Lee Whitnum’s performance, in fact her courage and outspokenness is just what is needed in a House and Senate full of double-speaking equivocators who avoid uncomfortable truth for political expedience! For far too long OUR Representatives have been pandering to and cowed by the Israeli Lobby, sending billions of OUR tax dollars to aid Israel in its numerous war crimes and land theft operations:
    Lee Whitnum, when elected, will cease allowing Israel to continue making enemies for the US, while she, unlike most current US legislators, puts American interests ahead of the interests of a foreign state.
    She has my vote!
    David Evans,
    Former Sergeant, USMC

  2. Bob Hebee

    We already elected one nuisance lawsuit tornado to the Senate in 2010; no need to repeat ourselves. Note to Ms. Whitnum: Dating a U.S. Senator in college, doesn’t make you qualified to actually BE a U.S. Senator.

  3. Peter Grundy

    I agree that the huge amount of financial aid to Israel and their 45 year occupation of the West Bank SHOULD be discussed and not just rubber stamped by gutless politicians as has happened for the last 45 years. Israel’s current ultra conservative governments saber rattling to Iran is both stupid and arrogant. It is also the biggest reason oil and gas prices have gone up so quickly. Israel has done no favors to us or the rest of the world by their actions and should be punished for it!

  4. Francis O'Mally

    Where do I sign up? ’bout time someone has the stones to speak in plain language that has not gone through the Campaign adviser cleaning process. Nice thoughts by Bysiewicz and Murphy. Throw the first amendment out because a potential candidate has spoken negatively about a small foreign power.

    Can’t wait for McMahon to stick it to the other gas bag in the room. Chris Shays is as bad if not worse than the Dems. It’s not that complicated.

  5. Alan Folsom

    Americans are tired of politicians whom give blind support to Israel. Those Zionists crackpot have robbed our country blind, gotten us engaged in immoral wars, own our politicians, and are brutalizing Palestinians on a daily basis.

    Lee Whitnum is a gutsy lady whom speaks the truth. She is a true American hero. We need more people like her.

    Lee, I don’t expect you to win because our political system is fixed. The criminal rich and the Zionists run things and Americans know it. But keep the faith. We will be victorious over those demonic creeps.

  6. John Maron

    I am always surprised to see candidates talking about trivial issues, and not addressing the wars in the Middle East that are draining our coffers and taking American lives, just to fulfill the wishes of the Israel lobby and big oil.
    Lee Whitnum, along with Ron Paul, are the only candidates that will address this on high priority.

    The Israel lobby debate at MIT, with Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer

    Former AIPAC Israel lobbyist warns about oil companies and the Israel lobby joining to force a US war against Iran

  7. Mary

    Calling another candidate a “whore” IS crossing the line. However, she has an important message that gets far too little attention. A nation-state should never put the interests of another nation-state ahead of its own. That elected officials should advocate otherwise borders on treason. I hope she can learn to check her language, if only not to allow this very important message to get denigrated by its deep-pocketed opponents.

Comments are closed.