The New Dick Blumenthal

I interviewed Dick Blumenthal last night for this Sunday’s Face the State, and he was a very different Dick Blumenthal.   It was the first real sit down interview in months and the  first time I had spoken to him since before the New York Times story broke in May, which changed his senate campaign and changed the way some voters look at him, perhaps forever. 

Blumenthal used to the be the most accessible public official in our land of steady habits, offering reporters his personal cell phone number and granting interviews  at a moment’s notice.   His eager willingness to go on camera was a running joke among his staff, journalists, columnists and radio disc jockeys…even himself.      But the post NY Times article Blumenthal is a new type of politician.   That cell phone number has been disconnected, and his twice, or thrice  weekly appearances on local media outlets have been sharply reduced.

We talked about the perception we journalists now have that Blumenthal is tightly managed.    He said that wasn’t the case, and he said I was wrong when I said he had turned down invitations to appear on “Face the State.”   I told him I had to set the record straight, and yes, in fact the campaign had turned us down.  In May, we put in a request to have Blumenthal on our show and it is now July.   In the old days I used to call Blumenthal at 5PM and have him in front of a camera by 7PM.   

Hey, I understand.  To say Blumenthal had a rough May is a huge understatement.  I don’t blame his people for holding him back from public appearances and interviews.    They were probably hoping the military service controversy would die down, and it has somewhat.  

I had no intention to ask Blumenthal specifically about the Vietnam comments.   He’s already explained them, and I didn’t expect anything new to come out.   I instead wanted to know what went on behind the scenes during those dark days in May when he was being criticized across the country.     I wanted to know he handled the obvious stress and tension of a crisis situation.    Blumenthal didn’t really answer the question and instead he brought up the Vietnam comments, apologizing to veterans, again. 

Blumenthal seemed to avoid a few of my questions and instead delivered answers to something else that seemed rehearsed.    It’s not my style to cut off guests, but I had to.   I didn’t want precious time burned on lengthy talking points that had been said before.

Also to watch for this weekend:  Blumenthal’s comments on Linda McMahon and the WWE.    The attorney general said voters will have to decide for themselves about McMahon’s character.     He also said there might be questions about whether McMahon’s WWE put profits above the safety of workers.   I asked whether his office had ever investigated the WWE for those allegations.  

His answer is very interesting, and I’d like to hear your take on it.   

My sense is that the Vietnam comments controversy shook Blumenthal to his core.     I don’t think the old Dick Blumenthal is ever coming back.    He is now in a race that is probably tougher than he ever imagined and for the first time after decades of easy landslides he faces an opponent in a campaign that has everybody watching.  

We also talked about immigration, the stimulus, and more.  

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

UPDATE:  Here is the interview:

youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGe–s6JnWI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzrY4a3F0IQ

 wfsb

http://www.wfsb.com/video/24310724/index.html

http://www.wfsb.com/video/24310867/index.html

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15 Responses

  1. Sounds like Mr. House spoke to the real Dick Blumenthal and not the shallow political facade that has adorned TV sets and newspapers in CT for years.

    I’ve been told on many occasions by R. insiders that Blumenthal had a glass jaw and couldn’t weather a tough campaign. Certainly, his debate performance in March against the unknown Mr. Alpert revealed his inability to think on his feet. Even his most ardent supporters, who said he was would improve, acknowledged he was miserable that night.

    The punch delivered by Mrs. McMahon, regarding Blumenthal’s misstatements on Vietnam, wasn’t a jawbreaker, either. But as Mr. House shows, it clearly left Mr. Blumenthal reeling.

    It is called a political ‘campaign’ for a reason. It takes and evolves over a period of months. Mrs. McMahon’s campaign started about 10 months ago, with a goal of winning on Nov. 2nd. She has made steady progress throughout, most recently defeating a popular former Congressman, and a nationally known investment advisor, at the GOP convention. No one really expected her to achieve that.

    Now, less than a month remains until the GOP primary. Mr. Blumenthal’s poll numbers, while still high, are eroding. He rarely appears unscripted in public, and when he does, he seems cautious and lacking confidence.

    Mrs. McMahon’s poll numbers continue their slow ascent. She continues to expand her campaign effort via staff, appearances and messaging.

    Once the GOP primary is over, Mr. Blumenthal and Mrs. McMahon will face only each other. There will be no distractions. This race will tighten.

    The wealthiest, most powerful career politician in CT will face a wealthy, self-made businesswoman. Blumenthal has everything to lose. Mrs. McMahon has much to gain.

    Despite his long career in politics, Mr. Blumenthal is unaccustomed to playing defense, especially with an opponent who can hit back. One punch won’t take him down. But can he endure a steady barrage of punches over the final 12 weeks of an intense campaign?

  2. I’ll pass on the lying Blumenthal. Linda’s empty ‘time for a different kind of senator’ marketing campaign – turns me off as well. For my family the only choice in the CT senate race is PETER SCHIFF – he has solid ideas, a deep understanding of the economy and wants to see a return Constitutional legislation.

    Take a look at SCHIFF on you tube and you’ll want to vote for SCHIFF at the Aug 10 primary!

  3. McMahon assumes she is the nominee and Blumenthal expects voters to believe his lies.

    Peter Schiff tells the truth about the economy. He will stand up to the corrupt career politicians in Washington.

  4. Hey Dennis,

    So good to see you last night – great show, as always. And welcome back from vacation. We were happy to wait for your return to tape Face the State; figured waiting a week was worth it to do the show with you. Thought I’d let you know, right after Dick finished taping with you, he went over to another network studio to tape an interview – a last minute request, on a breaking story but we were glad to be able to accommodate them. And, Dick met with reporters at two events earlier in the day. In fact, Dick’s schedule has been so busy, there have been a number of media events every week, as he mentioned on your show. We look forward to coming back to Face the State and to seeing you on the trail!
    Best,
    Maura Downes

  5. I’m going to have to DVR the show this weekend. I’ll be at the Petit Race – I get to be there at 6:00 am, not sure when I’ll be home I expect sometime in the afternoon.

    I’m interested what Dick or Richard whichever name he wants to go by these days has to say. I’m looking forward to what everybody has to say, but to be honest, I’m so tired of the ad’s already.

    Again, I’ll DVR the show! Glad you guys are back home too!

  6. Forget Blumenthal’s fake warrior claims, someone needs to address the issue of Blumenthal blatantly ignoring multiple complaints of DCF abuse of power against poor families

  7. I really enjoyed today’s show with the Attorney General. Dick Blumenthal has been fighting on behalf of Connecticut citizens for years, and he is exactly the kind of advocate we deserve in the U.S. Senate.

  8. Great to see Dick Blumenthal continuing to stand up for the people of our state! We are so lucky to have such a courageous Attorney General looking out for the people of Connecticut – and will be even better off with him as our next Senator!

  9. Richard Blumenthal has fought for the people of CT my entire life and for many years before that. It’s in his blood to do what is right for the people he represents and his record shows that. I know that he will continue to serve the people of our great state from Washington!

  10. Richard Blumenthal has done a great job as Attorney General, he has continually fought for the people of Connecticut, and I know that he will still be on our side when goes to Washington.

  11. I was so happy to see Dick Blumenthal’s positive responses in the interview this morning. He has avoided a negative campaign strategy… a questionable strategy numerous candidates have used in campaigns throughout the years, to the disappointment of many voters. His courage to stand up for himself, and what is right, is incredibly admirable, and I will be proud to have him as my next Senator.

  12. Great show Dennis! I was thrilled to see Atty General Blumenthal on your set. I thought he was fantastic, he sounded like a genuine candidate and came across as the right guy for the job of United States Senator. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that Ms. McMahon try to buy a seat in the United States Senate, she is clearly out of touch with the voters and I hope that people will realize what she is trying to do before election day. Ultimately, though, Dick Blumenthal has been a fighter for Connecticut families for decades, I think that he will change the mold of United States Senator just as he broke the mold of State Attorney General.

  13. those last two posts have me wondering. do you really know what your talking about. i mean come on.. do some research. learn about the violations that went on in his office for 20 yrs. how he literally ran business out of the state. what kind of kool aid are you guys drinking.

    peter schiff is the only canadate that knows the economy and can fix whats wrong. and he’s a constitutional kind of guy. blumenthal doesn’t even talk good in my opinion.. ooops who cares what i think right..

  14. I know who’s going to lose Blumenthal vs McMahon – Connecticut.

    It is absolutely stunning to me that the “smoke” from these two hacks is smothering the oxygen of the Schiff campaign. Schiff is an accomplished businessman, top grade economic expertise and has run a clean campaign.

    How Connecticut can overlook the opportunity to send someone of his caliber and character is beyond me, especially given the lack thereof of his opponents.

    Connecticut voters should really get their heads on straight and take a serious look at this guy. At this critical time in our nation’s history, it is important to have real problem solvers in Washington, not hacks wanting a golden resume.

  15. Gee, anyone else get the feeling that the posts from James, Dana, Chelsey, Jasmine, and AprilMay are all from the exact same person?

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