Linda McMahon granted her first extended local television interview with an appearance tonight on Face the State. Had she arrived early at our studios she might have said “What is he doing here?” Richard Blumenthal also came to the station for our 6 o’clock news to talk about Haitian scams, and left our building about 6:20PM. McMahon got here shortly after 6:30. The two never saw each other.
Like most of our guests, McMahon came with a pair of aides including former WFSB intern and WTNH reporter Jodi Latina.
McMahon was treated like any other guest here on Face, but there is no denying she is something of a celebrity. One of our audio technicians is a big WWE fan, and posted on his Facebook page that he was excited to be the one to a put microphone on Vince’s wife.
McMahon took time to meet some WFSB employees. This is not unusual, other candidates have done the same thing and often the introductions are my doing. I get to meet all the candidates and elected officials and think it is only fair our producers and staff get to meet them, too.
Tonight’s Face the State guest told me to call her Linda, but I went with Mrs. McMahon. I guess it is my Catholic school upbringing. For the record I don’t address Simmons and Blumenthal as “Rob” and “Dick.”
Mrs. Mcmahon was patient as the Face the State set was prepared and lighted, and the taping began behind schedule because of last minute fixes.
We spent that time waiting for the taping to start with small talk, chatting about everything from McMahon’s favorite thing to cook to Katie Couric to the Massachusetts Senate race. McMahon noticed the desk needed some cleaning….which it did, and she thankfully plucked a piece of thread on my lapel that was out of my view. She’s very personable and I couldn’t help recall that George Bush/John Kerry question from 2004: who would rather have a beer with? Linda McMahon is someone you’d want to have a beer with.
The panel of Daniela Altimari of the Hartford Courant, Brian Lockhart of the Stamford Advocate and I spent the half hour (24.5 minutes after commercials) questioning McMahon about why she is running, what the message is now that Dodd is out, and the polls that show her losing badly to Blumenthal. We also devoted an entire segment to steroid use at the WWE, and asked McMahon if she felt responsible for the steroid related deaths of WWE wrestlers. After the taping one of our producers felt we spent too much time on the WWE, and after the show airs I expect that some critics will say we didn’t spent enough time.
Bottom line: we crammed in as much as we could.
We talked about why she donated to Joe Lieberman and whether her husband will join her on the campaign trail.
McMahon agreed to appear in a special hour long “Face the State” debate with fellow Republicans Peter Schiff and Rob Simmons. Then she left with her souvenir mug.
Overall, I think we asked fair and tough questions and McMahon came prepared.
You can be the judge and watch the entire interview this Sunday morning at 11AM.
You can watch the entire interview with Mrs. McMahon this Sunday