Kiner's Korner: Murphy On the Ropes But Not Down

Bill Kiner discusses the hot Senate race, plus adds insight into the Obama/Carter comparison.

Chris Murphy is on the ropes, but there has been no knockout punch (yet) from Linda McMahon. For the last month (or is it months), Linda McMahon has shared her multimillion nest egg with the advertising industry. Portraying Chris Murphy, lately as a Ferris Bueller wannabe, McMahon has tried to drive home the point that the Congressman has missed so much work in Congress that he does not deserve to be elected U.S. Senator.

McMahon claims, and correctly, that Murphy missed 80% of congressional hearings during the financial crisis. But the devil is in the fine print. Please note that it was "hearings" that he missed, and not committee votes or floor votes. The Congressman claims, and McMahon has not denied that Murphy attendance record on votes was over 90%. Murphy's campaign spokeswoman said that "Chris was a very active member of the Financial Services Committee (on which he served), casting 129 out of 132 votes in the committee and 1,854 out of 1,875 votes on the House floor".

Apparently McMahon has hit Murphy where it hurts. The latest Quinnipiac University Poll shows Republican Linda McMahon has made huge inroads among women and independent voters. The poll showed McMahon with a 49-to-46 percent edge. Back in March, Murphy enjoyed a 52-to-37 percent lead.

Now look, I am not trying to gloss over Murphy's attendance record, but voters should understand that it is virtually impossible to attend every hearing. Should he have been at these hearings if it were possible? Of course. We don't know why those hearings were missed and perhaps the Congressman could tell us. But what is true is this. Transcripts of the hearings are available to everyone. So even if hearings were missed, everyone, including Murphy, had access to them. I hope he read them.

And quickly on another note. The Iran hostage crisis of 1979/1981 was widely perceived as a major cause  in the defeat of Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan. Until now, the American electorate has been more concerned with domestic issues (jobs and the economy) than in foreign affairs. Unless the Middle East events spiral out of control, the American electorate can be expected to feel that way up to Election Day. But if the Middle East explodes in violence, the question is, will Obama be our new Jimmy Carter?


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