Archive for July, 2010

Boughton: “Malloy is just as wealthy as Fedele”
July 30, 2010

There has been plenty of discussion this week about the  public financing of campaigns, culminating in a special session today.  The Hartford Courant’s Daniela Altimari has a great write up on what happened at the Capitol and some fiery comments from Senate Minority Leader John McKinney.      You gotta love Daniela’s headline:

Some people I’ve spoken to this week don’t feel wealthy candidates should turn to taxpayers to pay for campaign ads, especially negative ones.   Republican  Lt. Governor Michael Fedele has unleashed some new negative ads this week aimed at Tom Foley, ads, that you, the taxpayer,  paid for.    Those ads on commercial television debuted simultaneously with some  amateur video on youtube of Fedele with his Ferrari.    You can read about it and see it on Kevin Rennie’s blog:

To be fair, Democrat Dan Malloy is also taking public financing and is also using taxpayer money for negative ads.  Foley and Ned Lamont are also running negative ads, but the taxpayers aren’t getting the bill. 

I was asked by a viewer how a man who drives a $200,000 car can qualify for public financing.   Trinity College professor Rennie Fulco, that public financing is not based on need, although the purpose of it is give other politicians who are not wealthy,  a chance to compete against wealthy ones.   

Which brings us back to the Ferrari.    It was a big blunder for a gubernatorial candidate  to bring that car  to the Capitol during a recession and period of record unemployment and foreclosures.   No one argues that.  

Fedele has every right to own that car.  The son of a blue collar immigrant from Italy, Fedele earned every penny he has the hard way.  He is an American success story, and an expensive Italian sports car is one of the fruits of his labor.   

Cars and politicians are a funny mix.    Vehicles have to be carefully chosen so they don’t negatively impact a politician’s image.  In the 1990s, then Hartford Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry had a Lincoln as her official city vehicle that she drove through one of the nation’s poorest cities.   It made her look out of touch.   There are some politicians who drive cars made in Japan.  When a local company wants to ship jobs overseas, how can that person condemn that business from the seat of a car made by foreign workers overseas?    

Some are wondering how can a politician who drives a Ferrari can ask for a handout from the taxpayers.

 I asked Fedele’s running mate, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton about it.   His response?   “Dan Malloy took public financing and he is just as wealthy as Fedele.” 

Tune in this Sunday at 11 AM for Face the State.

Apathy the Wild Card in Campaign ’10
July 30, 2010

Ned Lamont’s well received decision to participate in next week’s debate with Dan Malloy is buoying hopes that interest will be spiked in the race for governor among the electorate.    In a week and a half voters will choose the candidates who will face off in the November election; an historic election, yet it seems many people just don’t care.

This is the first time in several decades that both the governor’s office and the senate seat are wide open without an incumbent running, and yet many people seem to shrug it off and prefer to talk about watching “True Blood,” or “Mad Men.”   

That’s fiction, while the drama this year in Connecticut politics has been stunningly real.    Think about what we’ve had since January.     One of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, son of a former Senator who went out in disgrace, was accused of getting questionable loans and was forced to retire two years after running for president and surviving a battle with cancer.    The CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment went from the ring to becoming the most visible candidate on local television.   The state’s most popular Democrat was accused on national television of lying.   The man who knocked off another former presidential candidate in a nationally watched senate primary came back to run for governor.   A former television anchor jumped into the race for congress.   A former ambassador ran for senate and then governor.  A former congressman was in the race, then out, then back in.   A member of America’s most famous political family cut his first TV ad ever for a local politician.    Throw in Ferraris, factory closings, a candidate named Oz, and a mayor convicted of corruption and you have a political year that has been anything but boring.      Yet the electorate seems bored by it.

According to numbers from Nielsen Research, the television ratings for the debates this year have been nothing short of disappointing.      It is too bad because those who didn’t watch the most recent debate missed a very good show.  Ann Nyberg did a great job of moderating with tough questions from Mark Davis and Paul Choiniere that led to some memorable comments from Republicans Oz Griebel, Tom Foley and Michael Fedele.

I should also note that the most popular topic we addressed on “Face the State” this year that drew the most attention and most comments was not a grilling of a politician, but rather my interview with former Hartford Whalers owner Howard Baldwin.  It seems the prospect of restoring major league sports in Connecticut trumps concern over who will be the next governor.   My old blog entries about the Whalers are still read daily. 

We’re hoping to have a sizable audience next week for the gubernatorial debates on WFSB, WNPR and CPTV.      There will be two debates:  one with Democrats Malloy and Lamont on Tuesday, August 3rd and the following day Republicans Foley, Fedele and Griebel will slug it out.     Both will be moderated by the incomparable John Dankosky of WNPR and yours truly.

We are pre-empting Better Connecticut at 3PM to air the debates which will be simulcast on WNPR.    The debates will also be broadcast on CPTV at 8PM and simulcast again.  The debate can also been seen on

We should point out television stations do not produce these debates to get ratings.   They are a public service, provided to the viewers and voters so they can learn about the candidates they will vote for.    This is a very important election.     We invite you to tune in and I guarantee it will have a greater impact on your life and be far more interesting than a re-run of “Two and a Half Men.”   

Sadly, more people watched that the other night than the debate.   

Still, those people who aren’t following the races might still vote, and could be the wild card in the election.

From Lambs to Pit Bulls
July 29, 2010

The way Connecticut election laws are set up can lead to some uncomfortable moments on the campaign trail for candidates running for Lieutenant Governor.    Most have running mates, and while their partners can spar, criticize and sling mud, the second bananas have to stick to the issues.   That’s because after primary day he or she  could suddenly become the running mate of their partner’s  opponent.    

The candidates for Governor and Lt. Governor run as a team but appear on the ballot separately.   In 2006, John DeStefano’s running mate lost and he ended up running with Mary Glassman, who is also running for LG this year.  

On Face the State this Sunday we continue our look at the LG candidates by talking with Nancy Wyman and Mark Boughton.  They both refrained from criticizing the men their running mates are attacking.    

Come August 11th, the victorious candidates for LG will turn from lambs to pit bulls, while their running mates assume a more guberatorial profile and leave the dirty work to the # 2.

It is official: Lamont will Debate Malloy on WFSB, WNPR and CPTV
July 29, 2010

Ned Lamont called me early this morning to inform me he will accept our invitation to take part in Tuesday’s debate with Dan Malloy to be broadcast on WFSB, CPTV and WNPR.   Lamont told me a debate will be the best way to talk about the issues with his opponent.   I told him we were pleased to have him and think  the viewers and voters will benefit from a lively discussion.  

The debate will be unprecedented in terms of coverage:  4 hours of total broadcast time for the hour long debate.

The three Republicans will debate on Wednesday. 

More details later today.    WFSB, WNPR and CPTV will release more information about the format of the debate and other particulars.

What am I holding in my hand during the newscast?
July 27, 2010

Many of you have e-mailed me asking what I’m holding in my hand during Eyewitness News at 11?   The answer:  an iPad.    

We have done away with scripts here at Eyewitness News, and all of our news copy is now on the iPad.   I was the guinea pig, testing it out for the past few weeks on the 11PM news.  It will debut soon on the rest of our newscasts.

Basically,  our producer Chris Hamm (handing it off to me in the above picture) loads the device with the scripts and hands it off to me.    Our audio guru Dario Muneton, in the green shirt, takes care of it before then.   Technical producer Adam Brooks and associate producer Meredith Zaritheny are making sure no one steals it from me.   Meredith is thrilled because she no longer has to print scripts.  

Change is sometimes difficult and Denise and Al are somewhat resistant to embracing the new technology.     They put up hissy fits years ago before my time when WFSB made the transition from stone tablets to paper, and I’m sure in no time they will learn to love the iPad, much like they learned to accept their title change from town crier to news anchor. 

An Old Cat Can Learn New Tricks
July 27, 2010

A big day in our house today, our cat Mackey is basking in the glow of catching his very first bird after window shopping for the 8 + years of his life.    As any cat owner knows, when your feline catches something he or she loves to bring it home as a present.   Here’s what we found in the house today:

Yummy.    To him, that is, although he didn’t eat it.    How Mackey caught the bird remains a big mystery.  He is an indoor cat, and his outdoor time has been limited to a few escapes.   We had a gnarly looking coyote in the yard a few years back, and decided it was best to keep him indoors.  

Did the bird come in the house through an open door and then he caught it,  or did he sneak outside, catch his prey and then bring it inside without us noticing?   Whatever the real story is, he’s not talking.

By the way, this unfortunate creature may have been Mackey’s first avian catch, but over the years he has caught three bats, a mouse, numerous bugs, and plenty of catnip toys.

Update:  a check of the house found a storm window that was slightly open allowing the bird to go in between the windows and the screen.    We found a couple of blood drops and feathers in the sash indicating that’s where the bird met its demise.   We’ll have to call in a CSI to make sure.

DOT Allows Rell’s Name Blocked Out at Border
July 27, 2010

This is the sign that greets drivers as they enter Connecticut from Rhode Island in the town of Voluntown.    The blue sign is the official sign posted by the Department of Transportation and the makeshift sign pays tribute to Voluntown’s fallen son, Lance Corporal Tyler Griffin.   The marine was killed in Afghanistan in April and his funeral in Voluntown was attended by hundreds of people including Governor Rell.

The memorial sign honoring LCPL Griffin is covering Governor Rell’s name and has been there for most of the spring and summer.   

This is a sensitive issue for the  DOT.    Spokesperson Kevin Nursick told me the sign is not allowed, yet it is not a priority for the DOT to take it down.      Nursick says the policy regarding makeshift roadside memorials  is to let them stay unless they pose a safety risk or if someone complains.   

It’s not clear who put the sign up and why it wasn’t lowered a few inches to allow Governor Rell’s name to appear.

Lamont wants to debate again, but not against Malloy
July 26, 2010

If Ned Lamont believes the voters are best served with only a single televised one on one debate with Dan Malloy, it got me to thinking what are his views on debating the Republican  nominee should Lamont be the nominee for the Democrats?

According to Lamont spokesperson Justine Sessions, Lamont is committed to debating the Republican nominee if he wins the primary in August.    It is unclear if Lamont will agree to more than one debate.  Sessions told me “right now we’re focused on winning the August 10 primary.  If Ned is fortunate enough to win the Democratic nomination, then we’ll discuss the general election debate schedule.”

Reason # 726 to own a Buick Roadmaster
July 26, 2010

I spotted this Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon near Easton’s Beach in Newport, loaded with surfboards and wetsuits and other beach stuff inside.  

I wouldn’t recommend trying this with Scot Haney’s flimsy go-cart because the roof might collapse. 

These Roadmasters look right at home at the beach, since these “woody” wagons have been hauling beach and surf gear for generations.   

Automakers really don’t produce the Estate Wagons and Country Squires any longer, but I have seen a few Jeep Liberty models with the Wagoneer option.

see also:



Lockhart Snags Interview with Vince McMahon
July 26, 2010

Kudos to the Stamford Advocate’s Brian Lockhart who scored a nice coup:  a sit down with Vince McMahon, husband of Senate candidate Linda McMahon.


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