Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday morning thoughts...

The problem with labels is that you never know how others think. Case in point;

A freqent visitor to this site, mccommas, suggested in a response to a post on John McCain's visit that I'm a liberal. Another reader, who goes by the name of Fou de Bassan, posted a comment on the Web page regarding my column that ran Sunday - suggesting that I was a conservative.

I appreciate the suggestions because I have hard time, especially on Monday mornings, trying to figure out just who I am.

Other ramblings at the start of the week:

The Greens are on the move. Ralph Nader will be the featured speaker at a fundraiser ($10 per person) for Green Party candidates Wednesday night in Willimantic. The event will be at the Willimantic Country Club dinning room, 8-9 p.m.

And Green Party Attorney General candidate Nacy Burton is heading out on a cross-state tour with Katie the Goat. Katie, for those of you who may not know, is a goat allegedly harmed by discharges from the Millstone Nuclear Power plants in Waterford. (Burton is a long-time opponent of the plants). If you're interested, the schedule of Nancy and Katie's stops is on her Web page,

Also coming up this week....the 10th and last debate between 2nd Congressional District candidates, Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons and Democratic challenger Joe Courtney. It will be held 7-8:30pm, at Enfield High School Debate, 1264 Enfield Street, Enfield, CT.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

McCain visit...

Just back from the Rob Simmons campaign rally featuring Arizona Sen. John McCain, a frequent campeigner here in the 2nd Congressional District, never having missed an election season once in the last six years. And as it always the case with the "Straight Talk Express," there is always more left in the notebook than what appears in the story that runs in the paper.

Despite running an hour late, and needing to get back on the road for a private fundraiser on Simmons behalf, McCain, as usual, was more than happy to spend some time with reporters after the event - and answer any and all questions.

On the war in Iraq, the decorated Vietnam veteran and former POW said he is not backing down on his proposal to increase American forces there by another 20,000.
"I've been on record saying that for three years," he said. "It's all very clear that we didn't have enough troops there in the first place."

On Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman's independent re-election bid. (During a campaign stop in Hartford earlier this year, McCain declined to take side in the Democratic primary.)
"I'm very encouraged by how well Joe Lieberman is doing. He is one of the finest people I know and he is someone who represents a bipartisan approach. It has been one of my great privildges to have worked with him on a variety of important issues. I'm glad he's doing well."

Will he (McCain) be back in Connecticut prior to the election to campaign with Lieberman?
"I've got a pretty full schedule right now."

About his own presidential bid in 2008:
"I'll make that decision after the first of the year."

And when asked if he might be leaning towards another run, based on the kind of receptions he receiving on the campaign trail now, he said:
"I've learned you don't judge your future on events like this."

Friday, October 27, 2006

The blitz....

The National Republican Congressional Committee has said it intends to launch a media blitz in 33 congressional districts now held by Republicans - but in jeopardy of being lost to Democrats. Included is the 2nd Congressional District.

Kind of makes you wonder what television shows they might have to cancel to make room for even more ads.

The blitz....

The National Republican Congressional Committee has said it intends to launch a media blitz in 33 congressional districts now held by Republicans - but in jeopardy of being lost to Democrats. Included is the 2nd Congressional District.

Kind of makes you wonder what television shows they might have to cancel to make room for even more ads.

Another senate debate???

It seems that Republican senatorial candidate Alan Schlesinger and Democratic nominee Ned Lamont have agreed to another debate. So far, U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman hasn't said whether he'll take part in it. The debate is scheduled - with or without Lieberman - Nov. 2 at Quinnipiac University .

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More on the US Senate race...

The Archdiocese of Hartford has put together a special edition of its Crossroads Magazine featuring the three major candidates in this year's U.S. Senate race, and will be airing an extended segment of its Crossroads television show regarding the race next week.

The program features each candidate answering the same questions regarding faith in politics, women's reproductive rights, their definition of "marriage" and their plan to address Connecticut's health care crisis.

The TV program will air three times next week:
Saturday, Oct. 28, 10:30 p.m. on WCTX Channel 9.
Sunday, Oct. 29, 10:30 a.m. on WTXX Channel 20.
Wednesday, Nov. 1, 5:30 a.m. on WTXX Channel 20.


U.S. Senator Barack Obama is trying to help Democratic US Senate nominee Ned Lamont. Obama has sent out emails to Lamont's mailing list urging supporters to continue working on behalf of Lamont.

Here's what he had to say...

"Ned earned the Democratic Senate nomination through his hard work and clear message. And his victory paved the way for an entire crop of Democratic challengers to stand up and fight for the common good. Today the candidacies of Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy are integral to the Democrats' strategy to regain the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"A majority of Connecticut Democrats supported Ned Lamont in the August primary. I hope they will see this impressive movement through to the end by volunteering their time with Ned in these next two weeks."

According to polls, Lamont is trailing incumbent Sen. Joseph Lieberman - with some polls giving the three-term incumbent as much as a 17 point lead among likely voters.

Second in command....

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano now refers to his running mate Mary Glassman as his "secret weapon." Michael Fedele, Gov. M. Jodi Rell's running mate, could probably be referred to as the invisible man.

My guess is that voters know very little about either of them. But there is opportunity to learn about both tomorrow. Glasssman and Fedele will debate each other on WNPR Radio, 9-10 a.m.

It is the first - and only time - they'll meet. And as was the case with the two guberantorial debates - minor party candidates running for Lieutenant Governor are not invited to take part.For the record, they are Jose Garcia, the Concerned Citizens Party candidate, and Jean de Smet, the Green Party candidate.

Because the Lieutenant Governor candidates run as a team with the gubernatorial candidates, they rarely make much of a difference in deciding the outcome of the governor's race. There is, however, one minor footnote in this particular case. Rell lost the endorsement of pro-choice groups, who have supported her in the past, because of her choice of Fedele as her running mate. Glassman has already indicated she intends on asking him about a 1999 vote he made as a member of the General Assembly that would imprison doctors who performed certain types of abortions.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Another observation...

New haven Mayor John DeStefano, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, just released a new TV ad featuring his running mate Mary Glassman. Glassman has been part of the "team" since the August primary when Democratic voters decided to put her on the ticket instead of deStefano's hand-picked running mate. As we approach the final two weeks of the campaign, and the Democratic ticket still lagging well behind in the polls, out comes the commercial the DeStefano camp refers to as his "secret weapon" - Glassman. (I would suggest it has been a long held secret up to this point.)

But it reminded me, that except on a rare sighting, has anyone seen Gov. M. Jodi Rell's running mate?

Or how about this...can anyone name him?

(Answer: Michael Fedele)

Connect the dots....

There's been a lot of talk lately about the barrage of political ads on TV, and just how nasty they are this year.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell admittedly hasn't run a lot of ads - but not a single one that she has run has ever mentioned her opponent, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.

And according to polls, Rell's lead in the gubernatorial race has her with the biggest margin over her opponent than any other candidate in any other race.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Andy Warhol was wrong...

It's not 15 minutes anymore. It's 60 seconds.

The two basic qualities needed to make an appearance on the 24-hour, non-stop news network shows are: Know what you're talking about (or at least sound like you do), and talk fast.

I do appreciate MSNBC Anchor Chris Jansing inviting me to join her on the show this afternoon to talk about the U.S. Senate race here in Connecticut. But this is not an easy race to talk about - at least in any great depth in a two minute segment. The jest of the conversation centered on one question - If the senate race is a referendum on George Bush's policies and the war in Iraq, how is it that Lieberman holds such a large lead in the polls?

The's not about just the war. It was during the primary, but we're past that now. This isn't about just the Democratic Party anymore, it's about the United States Senate. There are far more issues today, and Iraq isn't the most important one on peoples' minds. According to the Quinnipiac Poll that gave Lieberman a 17-point lead over rival Democratic nominee Ned Lamont, only 27 percent of the likely voters said Iraq is the central issue from which they'll base their decision on. That means 73 percent of the likely voters will be making their decision on it, and other things as well.

Self-serving promotion...

If anyone's interested, I'll be appearing on MSNBC around 12:30 this afternoon discussing the U.S. Senate debate...

thoughts about last night's debate...

It certainly was one of the more entertaining debates I've attended this election season. And here are some observations - some you might agree with, some you might not.

Democratic nominee Ned Lamont has certainly lost that boyish, golly-gee quality that he brought into the campaign way back in March when he first announced his candidacy. And at times, appears a bit uncomfortable with his current role as the Democratic nominee. He appeared much more comfortable earlier in the campaigng in the role of the upstart challenger taking on the status quo. He still is, but at times you can see the frustration on his face and his body language. Lamont's a businessman, and he has a keen understanding of his business plan. He's invested a lot into this campaign, and it isn't going along as well as planned - and it shows.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman has regained his stride. He is not the angry, resentful candidate that was so obvious during the primary. Although still exhibiting a strong displeasure at being challenged, he has moved that anger to a more appropriate response. One example of that came last night during the most spirited discussion when the candidates were asked how accurate their TV ads are. Lieberman never answered the question, instead using the opportunity to attack what he sees as the negative attacks by Lamont. And that produced the desired results, because Lamont couldn't resist rising up again in defense of his campaign. Whether you agree or not, he's back in his stride and his experience at campaigning is showing.

Alan Schlesinger has been the breath of fresh air - sharp, witty and on his game. And he actually has some pretty good ideas. The problem is, his ideas are lost in the laughter. What people remember, what they bring away in terms of what Schlesinger said are the punch lines. He leaves them laughing , but no one is remembering what else he said.

And a final thought.

The last two debates featured nationally known and well-respected journalists from CBS (Bob Scheiffer) and ABC (George Stephanopoulos) - and I'm still wondering why. Neither of them brought anything to the deabe except their names. Scheiffer's contributions went out the window in the opening introductions when he introduced "Ted" Lamont. For a race that has captured national attention - you'd think you'd know the players.

Stephanopoulos made a "cameo appearance" in New London. His only contribution to last night's debate was serving as straight man to Schlesinger a couple of times.

I can't wait to hear what you think...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Senate debate tonight

Don't expect to hear anything new tonight when the three major candidates in the U.S. Senate race take to the stage at the Garde Arts Center in New London for the third and final debate. Niether of the two previous debates broke any new ground, so it's hard to believe that tonight's debate will lend itself to anything new.

What we will see, however, is a bit more spirited discussion. Time is now beginning to run out, and polls are suggesting that the challengers are not making as much headway in this contest as they would have liked. U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman is holding a 17-point lead over his chief rival Ned Lamont, and despite garnering all the ink from the first two encounters, GOP challenger Alan Schlesinger has yet to see his campaign catch fire - or even begin to smoulder for that matter.

After becomes nothing but a TV Ad campaign for the final two weeks - and we all know how effective they are.

But tonight could be entertaining nonetheless. The debate begins at 8 p.m. and will be braodcast on WTNH Channel 8.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The gubernatorial debate last night...

For what it may be worth, my impression of last night's gubernatorial debate.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell did a far better job than her first outing 10 days ago, in the sense that she did allow Democratic challenger John DeStefano to simply dominate the discussion without a challenge. DeStefano, to some surprise, was actually even better than his initial performance during the first debate, staying focused on making his case that as likeable as Jodi Rell may be, she simply hasn't done the job.

Having to deal with her popularity has always been the biggest challenge, and DeStefano took dead aim at the issue last night. And he did in a way that wasn't mean spirited or negative.

"Her TV ads portary her as a good and decent person," he said, "but being nice isn't lowering your property taxes. Being nice isn't lowering your utility bills."

The question now is, how effective was it. He got no bounce from the last debate - but I think this time his numbers might edge up a bit.

But I also think Rell's performance was good enough to stop the bleeding, and I don't think her numbers will fall like they did after the first debate. Whether she was strong enough to win back some of that support that she did lose, we'll have to wait and see what the polls say.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mark your calendar for this one...

That is, of course, if you happen to be a political junkie and find the idea of life ending after Nov. 7, then this might be just what you need.

On Dec. 8, Yale University's Political Science Department and the Center for Study of American Politics will play host to a conference that will dissect the closely-watched race for U.S. Senate here in Connecticut. Representatives from the various campaigns, scholars and national jouranlists and other political experts will discuss not only how the campaigns were run - both the primary and the general election - but try and determine what the long-term political ramifications will be on politics in the future.,, and particularly what impact if any it might have on the 2008 presidential campaigns.

The conference is open to the public and begins at 9:45 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8 at the Whitney and Betty MacMillian Center for International Area Studies (34 Hillhouse Rd., New Haven).

a Connecticut First...

For the first time ever, the Green Party will release a TV commercial today. Clifford Thornton, the Green's gubernatorial candidate, recorded the commercial outside the Garde Arts Center in New London 10 days ago. Inside the theater, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Democratic challenger New Haven Mayor John DeStefano were debating. The message behind Thornton's commercial is that the two major parties shouldn't be allowed to exclude other "qualified" candidates from taking part in the debate.

It will likely be the only commercial aired by a minor party candidate in this year's elections. The minor parties don't have the same level of funding that the major party candidates do, and quite frankly, can't afford the same level of media campaigns.

But it is an important step forward if the minor parties intend on becoming major players in elections.

Later this afternoon, the two minor party candidates in the U.S. Senate race will share the Bushnell stage with the three major candidates for a one-hour debate that will be aired on WFSB Channel 3 Thursday night at 7 p.m. It is the only time in the series of three Senate debates that the minor party candidates will be seen or heard.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

food for thought...

With all the debates coming up over the next several days, we're going to hear a lot about everyone's favorite subject - taxes. Democrats here in the state want to enact a millionaire's tax (and starting it folks who make only half of that amount) while Republicans in Washington want to continue their tax cuts for the wealthy.

A very dear friend sent me this...the original source is unknown...but I did find it amusing and decided to pass it along.


A Simple Lesson in Economics

Let's put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
* The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing
* The fifth would pay $1
* The sixth would pay $3
* The seventh $7
* The eighth $12
* The ninth $18
* The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20." So now dinner for the ten only cost $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his "fair share?" The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being "paid" to eat their meal.

They decided to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and they proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

* The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings)
* The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings)
* The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings)
* The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings)
* The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings)
* The tenth now paid $49 instead $59 (16% savings)

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings:

"I only got a dollar out of the $20," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth. "But he got $10!"
"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than me!"
"That's true!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!"
"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn't show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore. There are lots of good restaurants in Europe and the Caribbean.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Who cares....

Apparently not the Republican National Congressional Campaign, better known as the NRCC.

Twice already this campaign, the AARP has taken the NRCC to task for violating the group's trademark policy by using the AARP name in its campaign mailings. The AARP strictly prohibits any political campaign from using its name in any and all campaign materials. That's something the NRCC knows already, because four years ago in the first race between U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, and Democratic challenger Joseph Courtney they did the same thing - and they were told not to do it anymore.

But they don't care....because they sent out a mailing last month using the AARP name - and then a second mailing a couple of weeks ago using the AARP name - and this past weekend, they sent out yet a third mailing using the AARP name.

Obviously the NRCC doesn't care one bit about the AARP or the misleading information contained in its mailing - but we already knew that. they only care about one thing - winning the election no matter what.

No wonder Republicans are having a hard time in this year's election. This is just another example of the arrogrance their party organization show towards people and other organizations.

Tucked away...

I meant to post this one last week, but things got a bit hectic and it slipped out of my mind.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in Groton last week to headline a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District. The event, which included one of those "private receptions" where for a mere $1,000 contribution to Simmons re-election campaign you can have your photo taken with the guest of honor, was scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. The main event, where for $250 you can stand in the room with everyone else and just snap all the pictures you want, was slated to run from 6-7 p.m.

But bad weather forced the mayor's plane to be diverted to Providence instead of landing in Groton, and thus an hour's drive back down the highway, resulting in a delay in the festivities. When the guest of honor finally took the stage at 7 p.m., the event moved along quickly - lasting a grand total of 39 minutes.

But what I found most interesting was this...

If Giuliani's visit here was suppose to cement the idea that Simmons is an "independent, moderate"' Republican - as he states in the TV commercial the Simmons campaign is running - then it was bust.

In his brief remarks (no more than 20 minutes max), Giuliani couldn't praise President George Bush anymore than what he did...and he continually added Simmons' name to that praise. Throughout his speech, it was..."George Bush and Rob Simmons this..." and "George Bush and Rob Simmons that..." over, and over again.

But I doubt it did any damage to the incumbent. The 150 or so guests who paid to be there seemed quite pleased to see Giuliani and could probably care less why he was there.

monday morning...

A few thoughts to kick off what should prove to be a very interesting week...

I am a bit disappointed that Tim Knibbs didn't take advantage of my offer last week and use this forum to introduce himself and explain where he stands on the issues in his bid to win the U.S. Senate race.

Last week, following the first of the two gubernatorial debates, I described it in terms of a football game and suggested that although Democratic challenger New Haven Mayor John DeStefano moved the ball down the field very effectively, I didn't think he had gotten it into the end zone to score any points. The UConn/Hartford Courant poll following the debate would suggest that assessment wasn't that far off. DeStefano made no gains in the poll after the debate, with the exception that Rell lost about 6 points to the undecided column - thus closing the gap just a bit. But just like in football, you can't win unless you score.

Lots of debates coming up this week...two U.S. Senate debates, three 2nd Congressional District, and the final gubernatorial debate.

Here's a quick look at the lineup schedule:

U.S. Senate: Incumbent Joseph Liberman, Democratic nominee Ned Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger in Stamford at 1 p.m. The debate will be carried live on NBC30 at 1 p.m., and then reboardcast tonight at 7 p.m.

2nd Congressional District: Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons and Democratic challlenger Joseph Courtney, 1-2 p.m., East Haddam Senior Center.

2nd Congressional District: Simmons and Courtney , 7:30-9:30 pm, Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce event, Old Lyme Middle School. (Simmons and Courtney will also join other state, federal and General Assembly candidates at forum at Griswold High School earlier in the day - 9:20-10:30 am).

Governor: Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Democratic challenger John DeStefano meet for the second - and final - debate on NBC30 at 7 p.m.

U.S. Senate: Lieberman, Lamont and Sclesinger meet for the second of three debates - and will be joined in this one with minor party candidates Tim Knibbs (Concerned Citizens Party) and Ralph Ferrucci (Green Party). The debate will actually be taped Wednesday and boradcast on WFSB Channel 3 Thursday night at 8 p.m.

2nd Congressional: Simmons and Courtney debate at the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting, 7:45-9 a.m., at the Holiday Inn in Norwich.

Guess I know what I'm doing this week....

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A new thread...

Tim Knibbs, the Concerned Citizens candidate in this year's U.S. Senate race, has joined the conversation here on the blog - adding a couple of his thoughts to recent entries. But rather than just "add on" to his thoughts in the comment sections, I thought I might start a new thread here - and personally invite Mr. Knibbs to use this forum to tell people about himself and where he stands on issues.

And it also gives you the opportunity to ask him some questions, or respond to his poisition on issues. (Isn't that what elections are all about?)

And if I might suggest this, Mr. Knibbs has apparently viewed the special election Web page on where U.S. Senate candidates Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont and Alan Schlesinger can be seen - and heard - discussing 10 different issues, maybe Mr. Knibbs might wish to add his voice to those issues.

And then I would recommend to you, that you look at his thoughts, then check out the opinions of the others to get a better sense of which candidate best reflects how you think.

Mr. Knibbs...the thread is yours....

The 2008 race...

It appears the Democratic list of potential presidential hopefuls will shrink by one later today. There's a report out that former VA Gov. Mark Warner will formally announce that he will not seek the party's nomination.

I find this interesting because back in February I spent a couple of days with Warner in New Hampshire - and I thought he had some potential, at least he certainly did make a good impression on voters up there. I went up to cover his visit because of Warner's Connecticut connection. He's a graduate of Rockville High School in Vernon, and spent quite a bit of time in eastern Connecticut working for then Congress Chris Dodd.

Dodd, of course, is still considering a potential run for the White House.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The youth vote...

I had the pleasure this morning of a moderating a debate at Norwich Free Academy for State Rep. Jack Malone, D-Norwich, and his Republican challener , Norwich Alderman John Crooks. It went pretty well, I thought, and we tried to keep the issues and topics related to young voters - things that they care about.

It's a fact that only about 20 percent of the 18-25 year-olds actually vote. When I talk with them, they tell me they don't vote because politicians don't "talk to them" and don't talk about issues important to them. And they're right. Politicians don't talk to young people because they don't vote.

It's the classic chicken vs. egg thing.

So today we tried to frame the issues in a way that made them important by trying to show how on the surface the issue of property taxes might not mean anything to these young people - but the ones who have cars are property owners and are taxed.

Both Malone and Crooks did a very good job of framing their answers in a way that put the issue on a personal level for the young people. And on many issues, they were pretty close.

But at the end of the debate, I asked the audience for a show of hands indicating which of the two candidates did they think they might consider voting for. Surprisingly about eight hands went up when I asked who might consider Malone - and significantly more went up when I asked about Crooks.

I'm not sure why. but the first thought that came to mind was that maybe this was a reflection of the sense of change that people are looking for in this year's election.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

the gubernatorial debate last night...

I may be the only one on this one.

Most of the folks I spoke with felt that New Haven Mayor John DeStefano was a clear winner in last night's debate with Gov. M. Jodi Rell. No question, the mayor did very well despite what sounded like the beginnings of a nasty cold.

But if I may, let me frame my observations in the form of a football game.

Last night was the beginning of the fourth quarter, and the home team (Rell) has a comfortable lead heading into the final moments of the game. The strategy here is to play solid defense and run out the clock.

The visting team (DeStefano) needs to score, but also needs to protect the ball and avoid making any turnovers. He was certainly on the offensive last night, and did not commit any fumbles.

I thought DeStefano moved the ball down the field quite effectively, and was just aggressive enough to make headway without taking too many risks. But I'm not sure he actually got the ball into the end zone. I thought Rell played a conservative defensive game that might have kept him from scoring the big points he needs.

Let us not loose sight of the fact that she remains an extremely popular figure, so the pressure is on DeStefano. There's only one more debate planned, a week from tomorrow - Wednesday, Oct. 18 - and he'll have to come out looking a bit more aggressive and make the big play. Otherwise, she takes over the offense and will run out the clock on him.

What do you think?

Monday, October 09, 2006

An oversight...

In that never-ending attempt to be fair, I thought I start a new thread on this rather than just attach it to the post from over the weekend.

In my listing of "others" - the minor party candidates in this year's election - I inadvertently overlooked the Attorney General's race where Greeen Party candidate Nancy Burton is also running. Nany was kind enough to send me an e-mail letting me know...and now you know.

To learn more about her candidacy...her campaign Web page

Friday, October 06, 2006

The other guys...

In my Sunday column in the Norwich Bulletin I talk about the minor party candidates who will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. Needless to say, these folks don't get a lot of press as the focus typically centers on the major party candidates. But there are quite a few "others" running in this year's election and I thought, at the very least, they deserved some mention.

So, here's a list of minor party candidates on the ballot, the position they're running for, and the Web addresses for their campaigns or their party - a chance to learn more about them and where they stand on the issues.

For governor;
Clifford Thornton, Green Party,
Joseph Zdonczyk, Concerned Citizens Party,

For lieutenant governor:
Jean de Smet, Green Party,
Jose Garcia, Concerned Citizens Party,

For U.S. Senate:
Ralph Ferrucci, Green Party,
Timonty Knibbs, Concerned Citizens Party,

For state comptroller:
Colin Bennett, Green Party,
Richard Connelly Jr., Libertarian Party,

For secretary of the state:
S. Michael DeRosa, Green Party,
Ken Mosher, Libertarian Party,

For state treasurer:
S. David Bue, Green Party,
Steve Edelman, Libertarian Party,
Mimi Knibbs, Conerned Citizens Party,

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I found this one just plain funny...

The D-Triple-C (Better known as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) released its first TV ad in the 2nd Congressional District Wednesday, criticizing incumbent Republican Congressman Rob Simmons. Just one little problem with the ad...

They spelled his name wrong....

You would think that after six years of trying to unseat him, they'd at least get his name right.

You can't make this stuff up...

Politicians, at times, can say some really amazing things. Take for example these couple of items as reported on Taegan Goddard's Political Wite today...

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, embattled Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is blaming Democrats for the growing controversy over the Mark Foley scandal...suggesting that "operatives aligned with former President Bill Clinton knew about the allegations and were perhaps behind the disclosure in the weeks just prior to the Nov. 7 elections."

However, it was noted, that The Hill, one of the capitol's leading political journals, reported that it was actually GOP operatives who leaked the e-mails to ABC News, which broke the story last Friday.

But it gets better. You wonder how someone can actually think in these terms...

"Democratic sex scandals have been far worse." A quote from former GOP House Speaker, and potential 2008 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, according to the Associated Press.

Just a note to Hastert and Gingrich - the best definition of Damage Control is "deal with it."

Rambling thoughts...

A couple of weeks after the Aug. 8 primary, a lot of folks were asking me if U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman could survive in the November election. At that time I said the first thing he needs to do is demonstrate that he is still capable of raising money. Losing the primary shut off the Democratic money machine, and with no real ability to campaign with other Democratic candidates, he would have no choice but to mount a serious and agreesive media campaign - and that costs money, and lots of it.

The first hint that money might be a problem would be the first evidence of a campaign in serious trouble.

I found it interesting this week to see that it was Democratic nominee Ned Lamont and not Lieberman showing signs of financial woes. Lamont has increased his own personal investment into this campaign to nearly $7 million, dumping another half-million into the race in order to "stay even" with Lieberman's media campaign. It's interesting in that Lamont appeared initially after the primary to have the inside track to the Democratic money well - and I wouldn't have thought that he would need to continue to reach into his own pockets if the Democratic machines that spit of the contributions started to roll.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Malone-Crooks debates

Bonnie asked last week if there were any planned debates between State Rep. Jack Malone, D-Norwich , and his Republican challenger Norwich Alderman John Crooks.

There are currently two scheduled, and potentially two more in the works, for a total of four.

The first is a bit out of the ordinary in that it is not open to the public. Malone and Crooks have agreed to debate before an Norwich Free Academy Civics' Class on Wednesday morning, Oct. 11. The reason it is not open to the public is for safety reasons - very limited parking at the school campus, and concerns about opening the debate to the public while school is in session.

The second confirmed debate is slated for Nov. 1 at the Norwich Senior Center, 7-9 p.m. That one is open to the public.

Malone is attempting to secure a place and date for a third debate in Scotland, and there may be a fourth debate in either Sprague or Canterbury.

Cleaning the desk...

The fax machines and e-mails are piling up, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to try and do a little housecleaning.

CBIA...the state's largest business trade organization...released its endorsements in the General Assembly races last week - with a few surprises. Here's a look at how the business group looked at the eastern Connecticut General Assembly match-ups:

Endorsed in the state Senate races:
Senate President Pro Tem Don Williams, D-Brooklyn.
Sen. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook.
State Rep. Lenny Winkler, R-Groton (seeking the 18th Senatorial District seat being vacated by Sen. Cathy Cook).
Republican challenger Matthew Daly in the 19th Senatorial District (the seat now held by Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, who is seeking re-election.)
And Republican incumbent Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford Springs.

On the House side:

Republican challenger Heather Sherman Bond gets the nod to fill Winkler's seat in Groton's 41 Assembly District race.
State Rep. Tom Reynolds, D-Ledyard (running unopposed)
State Rep. Michael Caron, R-Killingly.
State Rep. Steve Mikutel, D-Griswold.
State Rep. Jack Malone, D-Norwich.
State Rep. Michael Alberts, R-Woodstock (in what is considered the most competitive House races this year in this part of the state).
And State Rep. Shawn Johnston, D-Thompson (also running unopposed)

You can see the entire list of CBIA endorsements at

I've said in the past that I don't put a lot of weight on endorsements from groups and organizations. I've always felt that your next neighbor, bowling buddy or the person working next to you in the office is likely to have more of an influence than groups But I must admit, a few of these nods are a bit interesting, especially where incumbents were passed over in lieu of backing a challenger.

Monday morning quarterbacking...

Some interesting developments over the weekend in terms of the gubernatorial contest.

Incumbent Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell was a no show at a weekend candidates' forum hosted by CT Parent Power, sending instead her running mate, Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Michael Fedele. Also...tomorrow, CCM, the statewide organization representing cities and towns, will hold its annual convention in Cromwell and has invited Rell and Democratic challenger John DeStefano to attend for a forum discussion. DeStefano will be there - and again, Rell is sending her running mate to represent her.

But that wasn't the only "interesting" part of the Saturday conference - although more than a few participants did express some disappointed in her not showing. Also invited to the conference at Middlesex Community College was Green Party candidate Clifford Thornton, who, due to a nasty case of pneumonia was unable to attend and sent instead his running mate Jean de Smet of Willimantic.

While both DeStefano and Fedele were given anywhere between 12 and 15 minutes to make opening remarks and answer three questions - de Smet was forced to sit in the front row, and then only allowed three minutes to address the audience - three minutes for an opening remark and to answer the same three questions. (For the record, she did make the most of that brief time, and was rather well received by the crowd.)

Saturday's parents' conference came the morning after it was learned that next Monday's gubernatorial debate at the Garde Arts Center in New London lost one of its sponsors - the League of Women Voters. It seems the League decided that the Green Party candidate for governor did qualify to be part of the debate - and went as far as extending him an invitation to join Rell and DeStefano on stage. But the DeStefano camp allegedly objected, and the debate's major sponsor, The Day, rescinded the invitation - resulting in the League withdrawing as a sponsor.

Now...I'm not going to criticize anyone, because we do the same thing. This week we'll launch our special election Web page on the U.S. Senate race that will feature video of the three "major" candidates in that race - incumbent US Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Democratic nominee Ned Lamont and GOP challenger Alan Schlesinger. We mention that there are two other 'minor party' candidates in the race and do provide links to their respective campaign Web pages. But we didn't include them in the editorial board interview.

But it does make me wonder. These minor party candidates have to gather a significant amount of signatures on petitions to qualify for a spot on the ballot. We all know that that isn't necessarily a sign of support - but it is a "qualification" that they have to meet. And then, once they meet it, we tend to ignore them, arguging that they need to demonstrate some sense that they can actually be a factor in the race.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. How much time should be given to these minor party candidates? Should they be treated equally with the major candidates, or should they have to demonstrate some sense of wider appeal among voters?