Former Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays tore into the Senate frontrunner, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, on the content of her pro-wrestling shows when the two met in a Republican debate Thursday, saying that WWE’s stories are the real “war on women.”
“I think when you force a woman to take off all her clothes in an arena, and get down on the ground and bark like a dog, I think that’s assault on women,” said Shays.
“I’m very proud of the company that I have helped grow, from the point of time when my husband and I shared a desk,” said McMahon. “I’m proud of the jobs that I have created here in Connecticut, and I’m proud of the millions of dollars that we have put into the economy here in our state.”
“A job creator?” Shays shot back. “Hugh Hefner is a job creator. I don’t want Hugh Hefner being there, and I don’t want Linda McMahon being there,” he said.Shays also referenced stories of health problems and early deaths of WWE actors, which have been widely attributed to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Those accusations, and strong critiques against WWE’s lewd programming content, were wielded often against McMahon during her previous 2010 Senate run, when she lost to Democrat Richard Blumenthal by 12 points despite the Republican wave year, after having self-financed to the amount of $50 million.
Here is a video report of the debate, from the local ABC affiliate:
McMahon received the endorsement of the state Republican convention in May. Shays has also lacked the financial resources to take on McMahon effectively — thus making the debate far more important for him. A recent Quinnipiac poll showed McMahon with a huge lead over Shays, 59 percent to 30 percent. Both trail the likely Democratic nominee in the general election, Rep. Chris Murphy, in the race to succeed retiring independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.
Shays served in Congress from 1987 until his defeat in 2008, and was a main sponsor of campaign finance reform legislation in the early 2000s. He only narrowly won re-election in the Democratic wave of 2006, with the debate centering on his strong support for the Iraq War, and then was narrowly defeated in 2008.