Archive for October, 2012

My Chat with Ralph Macchio
October 31, 2012

I always respect actors who embrace their past, and in this case he is an iconic actor from the 1980s, who still has a big following today.  Ralph Macchio, who turns 51 next week, must be drinking some cocktail with age defying powers.   Unlike Susan Dey and some other actors, Macchio has no problem talking about a role that made him a household name, “The Karate Kid.”

As much as I was a “Karate Kid”  fan, I think I’d choose two of Macchio’s  other  movies “the Outsiders” and “My Cousin Vinny” next time I’m looking for a Saturday night rental.

Anyway, I’ve been asked a few times recently where to find the interview that Kara Sundlun and I did with Macchio this past summer on Better Connecticut.   Here it is:

We also talked about his new project, his guest appearance on one of my favorite shows, Entourage, and the role he still wants to play.   You may be surprised by it.

If Macchio ever comes to Hartford, we’d love to have him on Better Connecticut in person.   He’s a class act.

If you are wondering “who is Susan Dey?”   She’s the one who is never going to play Laurie Partridge in the never-going-to-happen Partridge Family reunion.

Face the State Flashback: the 2006 Senate Race
October 26, 2012

2006 changed everything for Connecticut senate races.   Before then,  we had real snoozers that ended up in blowouts for Joe Lieberman and Chris Dodd, with wreckage at the side of the road named Brooks Johnson and Philip Giordano, among others.

Six years ago, businessman Ned Lamont made national headlines when he defeated Lieberman in the Democratic primary.    It was a tremendous downfall for Lieberman, who only six years earlier was the Democrats’ choice for vice-president.

After the primary though, the race turned in Lieberman’s favor, and in the closing weeks of the campaign he was ahead in the polls.   This Sunday on Face the State, our flashback takes us back to October 30, 2006 when Lieberman and Lamont were campaigning around the clock.

You can watch the entire flashback reported by Susan Raff this Sunday at 11 AM on Face the State, only on  WFSB Channel 3.

Democrats: Glass Ceiling Doesn’t Matter in Senate Race
October 26, 2012

Barbara Mikulski, Jodi Rell, Mary Landrieu, and Susan Collins.  These are just some of the women Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon are featuring on the campaign trail in their efforts to woo women voters.    Those voters are being constantly reminded of their gender in campaign commercials talking about abortion rights, contraception and mammograms.

This week on Face the State we talk about this factor in the race with two women highly regarded in their parties.    Democrat Beth Bye, state senator from West Hartford, is a vocal supporter of Chris Murphy.   Republican Jayme Stevenson, first selectwoman of Darien, is featured in a Linda McMahon campaign ad, and was tapped to introduce McMahon after winning the senate primary in August.

During our taping we talked about women’s issues, and a complaint we reporters have heard from some women:  that Murphy and McMahon are concentrating too much on birth control and pregnancy, and that women also care about taxes, gas prices and high unemployment.

An interesting dynamic in the race is the potential history that could be made:  Connecticut has never elected a woman to the U.S. senate, in fact, that glass ceiling has barely been cracked.     In 1982, Democrats nominated Gloria Schaefer, who garnered  41% of the vote losing to Lowell Weicker.   Two years ago, Linda McMahon did slightly better with 43%.       This year Susan Bysiewicz failed in her bid to make history, as every leading Democratic woman in the state backed Murphy.

Is that important?  Depends who you ask.    Senator Bye, argued in the taping of Face the State, that in this race in 2012 a man is better for women than a woman.    Selectman Stevenson said some women will vote for McMahon because she’s a woman.

We also talked about the decline in the number of women entering politics, even though there are more women on the Connecticut voter rolls than men.     As for these two women,  Stevenson has been talked up for a future statewide run, and Bye’s visibility is also on the rise.     I asked Bye if she was interested in challenging Don Williams for senate president.     The leadership at the capitol is currently all male.

We also have analysis from Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie and Brian Lockhart of Hearst Newspapers.  Tune in this Sunday at 11AM on Face the State.


also watch this program on the issue of women in the race:




Hartford Has State’s Highest Unemployment Rate
October 19, 2012

According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, the current unemployment rate in our state is 8.9 %, above the national rate of 7.8% 

The capital city has the highest rate in the state and Bridgewater has the lowest.       Here is a partial list of town by town employment, and a link to the complete list is below.

Hartford      17.8

Waterbury 14.0

Bridgeport  13.5

New Haven 13.3 

New London 12.7

West Haven  10. 7

East Haven  10.0

Brooklyn  9. 9

Middletown 9.2 

West Hartford 7.9

Greenwich   7.0

Bridgewater   5.4 

Department of Labor

DeLauro & Winsley Face Off in CT-3 Debate
October 18, 2012

Sunday morning on Face the State we hosted a short debate for  the 3rd congressional district.  Longtime Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro faced off against her Republican challenger, Wayne Winsley.


Watch it here:

part 1:

part 2:

part 3:

Kennedy Visits Connecticut During Cuban Missile Crisis
October 16, 2012

  • Americans didn’t know it then, but when President John Kennedy came to Connecticut on October 17, 1962, it was no ordinary campaign trip.    More than 100,000 people turned out to see Kennedy at three stops in Bridgeport, Waterbury and New Haven, and hundreds more lined the motorcade route between the three cities.

    Unbeknownst to the crowd was that President Kennedy was managing one of the most serious crises ever faced by this country; the Cuban Missile Crisis.     Just three days earlier, the President learned with certainty the Soviet Union was secretly setting up missile launches on the Communist island nation of Cuba, just 90 miles from American soil.

    Kennedy was shown the photographic evidence on October 15th, and that day and the next he met steadily with advisors about the crisis.   On the 17th, he broke away from the extremely tense situation in Washington, to travel to Connecticut, to honor a commitment to campaign for his long time friend Abe Ribicoff, who was running for the Senate seat held by the retiring Prescott Bush.    Kennedy also campaigned for Governor John Dempsey and Congressmen John Monagan and Bob Giaimo, but Ribicoff was the focus.   Kennedy was also accompanied on the trip by Senator Tom Dodd, father of now former Senator Chris Dodd.

    White House records show the president was in the state for roughly four hours.    Kennedy flew into the Bridgeport Municipal Airport and spoke on the tarmac there, then traveled by motorcade to Waterbury, and then onto New Haven, where he addressed a crowd of an estimated 55,000 people on the green.     

    We recently found some old film in the Channel 3 archives of Kennedy’s historic visit, and later learned it was extremely rare.    We were contacted by the Kennedy Library in Boston, who asked that we donate a copy.    A library spokeswoman told me they had never seen  film of Kennedy’s historic trip here, and they are thrilled to have it now, as last year they marked the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    The three speeches Kennedy delivered that day were quintessential JFK; charismatic and humorous, yet filled with a sense of purpose.   The president spoke of his political allies here in Connecticut, the space program, national defense, and unemployment.     There was no mention of the dire situation in Cuba.

    Kennedy flew out of Tweed New Haven Airport at 8:30.     Later that night, a U-2 flight over Cuba would discover nuclear missiles, capable of striking most of the continental United States.   Americans would learn of the crisis five days after the Connecticut visit,  when President Kennedy addressed the nation on October 22, 1962.

    As it would turn out, that visit on October 17th would be President Kennedy’s last visit to our state.

    Here is a clip:

  • Ex-Party Bosses Urge Status Quo in Senate Race
    October 12, 2012

    Two political sparring partners from the 1990s are back.     Ed Marcus and Chris DePino were regulars on the political talk show circuit in the days of Weicker, Rowland, Kennelly and Dodd, and this Sunday they will pick up where they left off.       Here they are appearing on CT-’96 with Duby McDowell; that’s what Face the State was called that year.   

    Marcus was the chairman of the state Democratic party, and DePino was his Republican counterpart.    The two reunited in front of the television cameras for a taping of this Sunday’s Face the State.  The topic:  the  senate race, although we also talked about the presidential race and the 2014 race for governor.

    Reporters and some voters weary of attack ads may not want to hear this, but both former party bosses feel Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon should continue their campaign strategies.     Marcus told me Murphy should continue to brand McMahon as “anti-woman,” and accuse her of trying to buy the seat.   DePino warned that Murphy’s strategy is dangerous, that attacking a woman for being anti-woman makes no sense.

    DePino also believes McMahon should continue attacking Murphy for his attendance record, saying he should have gone to those hearings, and that the congressman should explain where he was.    Marcus responded that most members of congress send staff members to those hearings.  

    You can watch the entire interview with Marcus and DePino this Sunday morning at 11 only on Face the State.

    UPDATE:  Watch the segment right here:

    Ratings High for First Senate Debate
    October 8, 2012

    Sunday’s Connecticut U.S. senate debate between Linda McMahon and Chris Murphy was the most watched senate debate in our state this year and was the highest rated edition of Face the State in years, and the most watched program in its time slot, beating Meet the Press.

     According to WFSB ratings guru Rob Luciano,  Nielsen ratings show the debate received a  4.5  rating (about 45 thousand households) and an 11  share for the Hartford/New Haven market, which includes every county in Connecticut, except Fairfield County.    Ratings went up midway through the debate, reaching a high of 5.0, 13 share at one point.    Ratings for the debate in Fairfield County, part of the New York market, are not available.    At this time we don’t know how many people across the country watched the debate on C-SPAN,  and we are awaiting word on how many people watched via livestream on     

    Comparisons to other debates in recent Connecticut history yield  mixed results.   Sunday’s debate viewership was significantly higher than the primary debates this year.   Viewership was lower than the first  Blumenthal McMahon televised debate of 2010, but higher than the second.  Compared to the  Lamont Lieberman debates of 2006, the McMahon Murphy debate outpaced the first ’06 contest, but not the second.   Those debates also aired at 7PM, when the potential audience is larger.   

    There are three more debates between Murphy and McMahon, so we’ll have to see if voters become interested as the race goes on.     

     Moderator yours truly, and panelists Angela Dias of WTIC AM 1080 CBS Radio, Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror, and Fran Schneidau from WCBS News Radio 880

    Follow Sunday’s Senate Debate on Twitter #ctsendebate
    October 5, 2012

    Twitter is the new force in debate watching, and already we know of several people who’ll be live tweeting during Sunday’s senate debate between Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon.  Below is a partial list of people we recommend you follow on twitter,  and we will add to this list over  next 48 hours.    There are media all over Connecticut and beyond who will covering the debate, and many reporters will be tweeting the developments throughout.     We welcome your tweets! as you watch the debate.  Use the hashtag  #ctsendebate

    We also welcome you to join the conversation on Facebook. or

    If you are a reporter, politico, columnist, etc. who would like to be added to the list, please let me know.

    You can also follow the candidates at  @chrismurphyct   and @linda_mcmahon

    Recommended follows for Sunday:

    WFSB  @wfsb

    Yours truly   @dennishousewfsb

    Channel 3 Eyewitness News anchor Denise D’Ascenzo   @denisedascenzo

    State Senator Toni Boucher     @toniboucher

    State Senator Beth Bye     @bethbye

    Nu Wexler, Aide to Senator Blumenthal  @wexler

    CT Capitol Report panelist Jodi Latina     @jodilatina8

    WNPR’s Colin McEnroe     @ColinMcEnroe

    Hartford Courant political director Rick Green     @ctconfidential

    Former senate candidate and former Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy    @attyjlmccoy

    Political commentator Pat Scully  @thehangingshad

    WTIC’s Jim Vicevich  @jimvicevich

    Hartford Courant reporter Daniela Altimari  @capitolwatch

    Hearst Newspapers reporter Neil Vigdor  @gettinviggy

    Blogger/Columnist Sarah Littman  @realsaramerica

    Former CT GOP chairman Chris Healy   @chairmanchris

    Better Connecticut co-host Scot Haney   @scothaney3

    Chaz & AJ of WPLR     @chazandaj

    Yankee Insitute’s Heath Fahle    @heathwfahle

    CT-1 Republican candidate John Decker   @deckerjh

    Hartford Courant web correspondent  Jenny Wilson   @jennydwilson

    Governor Malloy will be watching, not sure about whether he’ll tweet during the debate, but you can follow him just in case  @govmalloyoffice

    More debate information right here:

    Channel 3 at the Southington Apple Harvest Parade
    October 1, 2012

    Thousands turned out for the Southington Apple Harvest Festival parade Sunday and we were honored to be a part of it.  The Channel 3 team came out and marched, and some rode in my 1965 Buick Electra.     Mark Dixon, Joe Zone, Matt McFarland, Denise D’Ascenzo, Kara Sundlun and I had a great time, and loved meeting all the people there.   Denise’s daughter Kathryn also took part, and Kara and I also brought Helena and Julian, who had a blast.  Thanks to Kathryn for the pictures.


    Politicians were also there, including Senator Richard Blumenthal

    and CT-1 congressional candidate John Decker

    and future politician Julian House?  He has the wave part down!


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