Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Update on debates...

First...sorry for the double posting of the last item. I was having some difficulty this morning posting anything and it looks like hitting the "publish" button more than once ended up putting it up more than once.

Tickets are now available for the Oct. 23 U.S. Senate debate at the Garde Arts Center in New London. Tickets can be obtained at The Day newspapers' New London and Norwich offices, the Garde box office and the Waterford and Groton public libraries.

The debate will also bebroadcast live on Channel 8 at 8 p.m.

State legislative races...

The General Assembly races have been quiet, at least in terms of candidates trying to garner some publicity. They are, however, out there campaigning - knocking ondoors and appearing before any group that will have them.

A few debates are being planned, but I haven't heard a lot of details.

So let me ask you. What have you heard about the legislative races where you live, and is there any talk of debates or candidate forums in your town?

State legislative races...

The General Assembly races have been quiet, at least in terms of candidates trying to garner some publicity. They are, however, out there campaigning - knocking ondoors and appearing before any group that will have them.

A few debates are being planned, but I haven't heard a lot of details.

So let me ask you. What have you heard about the legislative races where you live, and is there any talk of debates or candidate forums in your town?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday morning....

It's the start of another hectic, fun-filled week on the campaign trail, and I will do my very best to try and be a bit more attentive to this blog during the course of the week.

The week starts with what should be one of the more important events of the election year. U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman is scheduled to make a "major address" about the future of Iraq. It comes on the heels of the report over the weekend suggesting that Iraq hasn't helped in curbing the rise of terrorism. Democratic nominee Ned Lamont will also be discussing the issue in New Haven this afternoon.

Later this week, I'm taking another trip down to Ft. Dix, NJ to visit with some Connecticut National Guard troops from the Norwich armory who will be departing the area in a couple of weeks for Iraq.

And there are more than a few political events, press conferences and forums on tap for the week as well.

It will be a busy week...

On another front, John Crooks sent a long a message asking if there's been much conversation on the blog about the local legislative races for the General Assembly. Sad to say, there hasn't been much. For those who might not be aware, John is the Republican challenger in the 47th Assembly District contest, challenging incumbent State Rep. Jack Malone this year. John is also a member of the Norwich City Council.

So let me put this out there for comments. Have the Big Three...Senate, Governor and Congressional races...completely overshadowed the General Assembly contests this year? And if so, what should we do about that?

And even more importantly, what races on the legislative side are you watching?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Not sure what to make of this....

Former President Bill Clinton had this to say on CNN's Larry King Show last night when asked about the Connecticut U.S. Senate race:

"I don't have the same view of this as some people do. My view is Connecticut is an unmitigated blessing for the Democrats because Lieberman has said if he wins he's going to vote with us to organize the Senate.

Who says politics can't be fun...

Lieberman campaign manager Sherry Brown had one of her staff - wearing his coat turned inside out - deliver a letter and $100 check to the Ned Lamont campaign today. It's the Lieberman campaign's response to Lamont's latest TV commercial entitled "Turncoat." That commercial criticizes the incumbent for refusing to accept the decision of the majority of Democrats who voted in the Aug. 8 primary - which Lamont won - and instead launching his independent candidacy.

In all honesty, Lamont's television campaign has been - not all of them, but more often than not - more creative and entertaining.

This is what Brown said in her letter to Lamont campaign manager Tom Swan.

Tom Swan
Campaign Manager
Lamont for Senate
Meriden, CT

Dear Tom:

We are writing to thank you for running the “Turncoat” ad and to urge you not to take the spot off the air.

We know this was not your intent, but Turncoat has done wonders in reminding Connecticut voters about one of the things they like most about Joe Lieberman (his independence) and reinforcing what many of them don't like about Ned Lamont (his narrow-minded partisanship and negativity).

We hope you keep running the ad because it will continue to send the message to voters that it is Joe Lieberman who thinks that the election is about which candidate will do the best job of representing ALL of the people of Connecticut – Democrats, Republicans and independents.

It also sends the message that it is Joe Lieberman who is willing to take his case to all of the voters who will participate in the November general election -- not just those who supported you in the August primary.

To show our appreciation, and help defray the cost of keeping Turncoat on the air, we are enclosing a $100 contribution.

We know that’s not a lot and not on par with the $3000 Ned contributed to Joe up until last year. But we saw from your latest fundraising email that you are having trouble getting small donations to go with Ned’s rather large cash deposits. So we thought we could kill two birds with one check.

Again, thanks for making our job easier. Please keep it up!


Sherry Brown
Campaign Manager
Lieberman for Senate


I've been AWOL for a while, and my apologies for those who might have stopped by and found no new entries. Things have been busy this week.

As first noted on the site a week ago, it now appears that at least one of the scheduled three television debates with U.S. Senate candidates has been firmed up. Monday, Oct. 23 at the Garde Arts Center in New London with ABC Washington correspondent George Stephanapoulos moderating the event and local reporters on the panel asking questions. It will be broadcast live on the local ABC affiliate, WTNH Channel 8.

Additional debates are planned with the CBS and NBC affiliates, with the networks providing one of their top political reporters/anchors as moderators.

But there's a far more interesting forum being planned for Saturday, Sept. 30 at Middlesex College featuring gubernatorial and congressional candidates. The forum is organized and driven by Connecticut Parent Power, a coalition of groups such as the NAACP, social service and health care providers - and parents concerned about issues they deal with on a daily basis.

What's interesting is that all the candidates running for governor and congress have been invited - and yet not all the candidates have committed to attend. It will be interesting to see who actually shows up.

And finally, what have I missed these past few days? What's on your mind?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Food for thought....

Much continues to be made about incumbent U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman's decision to run an independent candidacy under the banner Connecticut for Lieberman - and how Democrats have rejected that effort by throwing their support behind the winner of the Democratic primary, Democratic nominee, Ned Lamont. But yet, there continues to be signs that it may not be playing out quite that simple.

A SurveyUSA poll released earlier this week suggests that 83 percent of the Democrats who supported Lieberman in the primary are still supporting him in the general election

And this...two press releases issued today touting a press conference this afternoon regarding Homeland Security Funding. The Lamont campaign issued on the press releases - criticizing Lieberman's lack of support in providing adequate federal dollars to the state, and noting that he will be joined by Democratic gubernatorial candidate John DeStefanoat the press conference.

The DeStefano camp also issues a press release regarding the event - but minus any reference or criticism of Lieberman. The DeStefano camp is blaming Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Republicans for the failure to adequately provide sufficient Homeland Security funding to Connecticut.

Sounds to me like that old political adage - know who your opponent is, and stay forcused on them.

But that's not to say there aren't some Democrats who do feel very strongly about the issue. And to that point, I offer this comment attributed to former President Jimmy Carter and reported by CNN news:

"I've lost my confidence in Joe Lieberman and don't wish to see him re-elected."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Senate race....

Republican US Sen. candidate Alan Schlesinger was in today to meet with the Norwich Bulletin editorial board. And as everyone knows, Schlesinger isn't doing very well in the polls, running a very distant third behind Sen. Joseph Lieberman and Democratic nominee Ned Lamont.

Schlesinger had an interesting comment in regards to that, suggesting that this race has been highjacked by the national media and thus he is struggling to get any attention against thosewho would like to see it become nothing more than a Lamont-Lieberman rematch, and forget the others.

I wouldn't go quite that far, but there may be something to the idea of the national media taking over. Rumors coming out of the negotiations about potential debates are suggesting we could see three or four debates - with the three major television networks taking over for their local affiliates. What I'm hearing is that instead of Mark Davis from Channel 8, we may see ABC's George Stephanpooulos moderating the debate; instead of Tom Monihan from Channel 30, we could see NBC's Tim Russert or Brian Williams, and representing CBS, Bob Schieffer.

Representatives from the candidates' campaigns are still working on the details and we might hear something official in the next day or two.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Path 9-11...

I watched the two-day mini-series that ABC broadcast and although there was quite a bit of initial controversy before it aired, I thought it was an okay movie. There was, however, one line in the film that really stood out for me. In the first part of the film, the FBI was trying to get a sense of how dangerous Osama ben Larden and his band of terrorists really were, and one of the characters described it like this:

We and Ronald Reagan think we won the Cold War. Ben Larden and his group fought the Russsians for 10 years in Afghanistan, and they think they won the Cold War. And now they're coming after us...

What did you think of the film?

Random thinking....

Thanks to a suggestion from CTBlue a few weeks ago, I installed "sitemeter" to this blog to get a sense of how many folks are visiting. I'm new to this blogging thing and still trying to hone it into something. And I'm not sure yet I even understand the difference between a "visit" and a "page view."

But according to the weekly summary, there were 156 visits this week, an average of 22 per day - and 303 page views, an average of 43 a day. I have no idea if those are good numbers or considered so-so.

But what I do know is this. Participation - comments left by those visiting and viewing - are limited to a small group, and I do appreciate their participation, and their sharing of their views. To the rest of you who are visting and viewing, take a moment and at least say hello.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Continuing a thought expressed a week ago...

Tomorrow, next door in RI, voters will go to the polls for a Republican US Senate primary. Registered Republicans and Independents are eligible to vote, and the incumbent appears to be in a bit of trouble. A couple of weeks ago I asked if people thought - considering what we've already seen here in CT -if maybe there was a purge under way by hardliners in the two political parties to rid themselves of candidates who tend to stake out the middle, or if folks thought it might be the early signs of a wider anti-incumbent mood among the electorate.

I don't really wish to re-engage in that, those of you who expressed your views previously were quite clear on what you thought. But I do present the following simply for consideration as an update to that line of thinking.

This is from the New York Times: In an extraordinary pre-emptive announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has said it will concede Rhode Island to the Democrats should Stephen Laffey defeats Lincoln Chafee.
According to its polling, Republican leaders apparetnly believe there is no way Laffey can win in November - thus, no sense spending the time and money trying to save a GOP seat.

And this from Voters this year already have dumped one governor in the primaries, and political experts predict the electorate is only warming up for the November elections,.


A couple of updates on political debates.

Representatives from the various - and numerous - US Senate campaigns met in Hartford Friday to try and iron out a debate schedule. I'm told that no concession was reached, but all sides agreed to meet again this week to continue the effort.

US Rep. Rob Simmons, the Republican three-term incumbent, and his Democratic challenger Joe Courtney will square off in the first debate of that race on Monday, Sept. 18 at the Garde Arts Center in New London. Doors open at 7 p.m. - no admittance after 7:30 p.m. Tickets are required and can obtained from The Day of New London offices, co-sponsor of the deabe along with the League of Women Voters Southeastern Connecticut Chapter and WTNH-TV.

The last time Simmons and Courtney went up against each other - the 2002 campaign - they met 10 times over the course of the campaign to debate. Don't expect to see that again this year.

No real surprise here...

An interesting piece in the Washington Post Sunday. It seems Republicans are about to launch a massive negative campaign aimed at discrediting Democratic candidates for congress in the final 60 days of the election. That, in of itself, is not surprising. What is surprising is that they admit it. According to the Post article, NRCC Chairman, Congressman Tom Reynolds of New York, "Opposition research is power. Opposition research is the key to defining untested opponents."

Opposition research is a nice way of saying that Republican operators have been checking into the backgrounds of Democratic candidates hoping to find something - anything - that can be used against them. Then they'll take some of the $50 million earmarked for this year's congressional campaigns and shower the TV airwaves "defining" the opposition in terms that are less than flattering.

Why?'s all about winning. Democrats need to pick up 15 seats in this year's election to take back control of the House. Political pundits, and polls, suggests that Democrats have a realistic chance of gaining 15 to 20 seats this year. Republicans believe that with an all-out, hard-ball, negative media blitz, they can minimize their losses to six to 10 - and keep control.

Brace's going to start to get ugly.

Friday, September 08, 2006

And one more to consider over the weekend...

I found it interesting that the press release issued today announcing the Senate approval of the Defense Appropriations Bill was a joint release from U.S. Sens. Christopher J. Dodd AND Joseph Lieberman. Dodd of course is officially on the record as supporting the Democratic nominee - Ned Lamont - in the Senate race, but still apparently able to work closely with his current colleague.

It's interesting in the current climate where there seems to be quite a bit of speculation as to what kind of reception would Lieberman receive in the Senate - by Democrats - if he succeeds in winning re-election under the Lieberman for Connecticut banner. (I included that just for you snorwich).

Bottom line, if the Democrats are to secure the six seats they need to gain control of the Senate, and Lieberman wins, they'll need him to maintain the majority. Plain and simple reality. So...I suspect that once the election is over, Democrats will welcome with open arms the winner of the US Senate race in Connecticut - no matter which Democrat it is.

Food for thought over the weekend...

The House and the Senate have both approved Defense spending bills for fiscal year 2007, and now both pieces of legislation go to conference committee to work out the differences with hopes a final spending plan can be approved before the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.

Both pieces of legislation include additional funding for submarine research and development. The House has about $17 million in its bill, and the Senate has $54 million. Confident that some compromise will be reached allocating "something," EB President John Casey told me two weeks ago that there would be no further layoffs of designers and engineers at the company for the rest of this year. That's the good news.

But what is really needed to provide stability at EB is an increase in the number of submarines that are being built. Currently, we're building one a year - and both Appropriations bills include funding for the sub to be built in 2007. The Navy doesn't plan to increase production to two a year until 2011.

The House Armed Services Committee did include $400 million in its Defense Authorization Bill to begin building two subs a year in 2009. (The difference here is that before money can be appropriated - actually spent - it first has to be authorized. And currently, that extra money has not yet been authorized because the Senate Armed Services Committee did not include funding for a second sub.)

But it does appear the conference committee members from both Armed Services Committees are nearly completition of a compromise measure, which could come as early as next week. The question is - will it include additional funds for a second sub to be built as early as 2009.

My guess is that it won't...which means things at EB aren't going to get any better anytime soon.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tell me what you think...

In the past several days a number of polls have been released. Some of them have been "internal polls," which typically raises a red flag in one's mind. I wouldn't expect a candidate or his/her campaign to release poll numbers suggesting their guy/girl is doing poorly - so you can almost be assured the polling results are positive.

Then we have the independent polls, organizations surveying folks independently of any campaign..

Polls are tools, used to gather information that can then be used to shape the political message - or identify areas/issues where a candidate may not want to venture - at least not voluntarily.

Reporters tend to like polls because they are a simple way to gauge how a particular race is shaping up or how well a candidate's message is being received. But I also know that there is a segment of the population who will tell pollsters one thing one day, and something else the next time someone calls. So although polls can be useful, they're not all that reliable.

So..let me ask...

How much faith do you have in the results of a poll?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A new poll....

Quinnipiac University released a new poll today which is interesting. It's not your typical "who you going to vote for poll" that provides some sense to how the campaigns are going this year. It is what the university calls its "thermometer" poll, a survey to gauge how people feel about specific politicians. Both CT U.S. Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Chris Dodd finished in the Top 20 among voters. (The poll looks only at incumbents, so there are no references to Ned Lamont. And no doubt, many of you who have already decided that you are not supporting Lieberman will have some problems with the results. That said - it is interesting nonetheless.)

It is a nationwide poll, conducted from Aug. 17-23, among 1,080 registered voters from across the country. Here are some highlights (and you can look at the full results at the university Web page at

Democratic congressional leaders, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, both of whom would become the majority leader of their respective chambers if Democrats were take control of the House and/or Senate, are neither well-known enough for people to have an opinion - or not thought of very highly by those who do know them. Of the Top 20 politicians rated, Reid and Pelosi finished 19th and 20th respectively - with 65 percent saying they knew too little of Reid to have an opinion, and 53 percent for Pelosi. On a scoring system of 0 to 100, Reid pulled in a score of 37.9, and Pelosi 34.7 among voters registering the "warmth of their feelings" towards them.

Lieberman, who is now running an independent candidacy for re-election, scored higher than any of the announced Democratic candidates running/or considering a run for the presidency in 2008. Lieberman scored a 49.5 percent "warmth" rating with only 17 percent saying they knew too little about him to have an opinion - good enough to finish 5th in the Top 20. The other Democratic presidential hopefuls rated included former NC Sen. John Edwards (6th- 48.5 percent warmth and 22 percent unknown); former VA Gov. - and CT resident - Mark Warner (7th - 47.7 and 73 percent); NY Sen. Hillary Clinton (10th - 46.1 and 1 percent); former VP Al Gore (45.5 and 2 percent); Del. Sen. Joe biden (14th - 44.6 and 53 percent); Ind. Sen. Evan Bayh (15th - 43.6 and 75 percent); Mass. Sen. John Kerry (16th - 40.5 and 6 percent); Wisc. Sen. Russ Feingold (17th - 40.5 and 66 percent) and Ct. Sen. Chris Dodd (18th - 39.8 and 65 percent).

The Top four spots above Lieberman went to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (#1); Arz. Sen. John McCain (#2); Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice (#3) and Ill. Sen. Barack Obama (#4). Those four were the only ones in the Top 20 to receive "warmth" ratings above 50 percent - with Giuliani the only one to top 60 percent with a 64.1 percent mark.

Starting the week...

Here's hoping that you all had a good holiday weekend. (Now that power has been restored, mine ended better than it began. Spent all day Sunday without any electricity - and 13 family visitors.)

With Labor Day now passed, I suspect all the races will begin to start shaping up. We're all familiar with the big contests, but I'm wondering if there are any state legislative races that you find just as interesting?

I really would like to get some feedback to our Web initiative where we (the Norwich Bulletin) post video clips of candidates talking with the paper's editorial board. We did both the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial contests during the primaries, and currently have on our Web page ( our special election page for the 2nd Congressional District. If you haven't taken a look at it, I invite you do so...and then tell me what you think...

The first president Bush is coming to Connecticut tomorrow - an invitation only, fundraising event for U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, down in Westbrook. I'll be there and reporting on it. Just curious...I'd like to hear how you feel about the elder Bush - and maybe, possibly including some of your comments in the story I write for the paper. If you think you'd be agreeable to that, post your comments here first - and then send me an e-mail at and let me know if you'd like to be quoted in the story. I will need your name - real name, no Web nicknames - and your hometown in order to use those comments in the paper.