MCMAHON SUPPORTS CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICAID TO HELP ALLEVIATE NATIONAL DEBT—OR DOES SHE?

In a national television interview that immediately calls to mind the flap over her stance on the minimum wage, Republican Linda McMahon seemed to indicate she would include Social Security and Medicaid among the areas she would support cutting as a US Senator.

McMahon appeared in an interview on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.” She admitted she has not given specifics about particular programs she would cut. “The reason I’ve not been specific as to particular programs – and I’ve dealt with it in terms of rolling back non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels – because that was the approach that I took as a CEO…You can look at a 10 percent cut across the board.”

When Amanpour asked directly whether that includes Social Security and Medicaid, McMahon said, “Let me just name a couple of other things too [emphasis added]. I do think we should freeze the federal hiring and freeze wages again, not going to make a big dent.”

Noting that she wanted to include “other things too” led this viewer to believe that meant she included Social Security and Medicaid as being on the chopping block.

Curiously, Darren Goode of The Hill newspaper’s online edition, widely read by those interested in congressional matters, apparently got the same impression. Goode posted an entry on The Hill’s “Briefing Room” blog Sunday morning that contained the lead, “Connecticut Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon said Sunday she would freeze federal wages and jobs and cut Social Security and Medicaid to help trim the federal debt.” But later in the day Sunday, Goode’s lead was changed to “Connecticut Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon said Sunday she would freeze federal wages and take the balance of stimulus money to help trim the federal debt”—no reference to the entitlement programs. The exchange with Amanpour was recounted in both versions.

One immediately wonders whether the high-priced McMahon media operation complained to The Hill and the result was the new version. The Shad asked McMahon spokesman Ed Patru just that through messages via email and voice mail. He responded via email.  In answering me, he simply congratulated me on The Hanging Shad doing well and refused to address the question at all. 

In a subsequent email, Patru clarified McMahon’s statement on “This Week,” sort of:  “Linda understands both programs need to be strengthened because at this point insolvency is imminent for both programs unless they are strengthened. She believes any efforts to strengthen these programs must have broad bipartisan support, and she will not support any efforts to strengthen these programs that does not have broad bipartisan support,” Patru said. “She’s also opposed to and would not support any efforts to privatize these public programs.”

McMahon, as in the “minimum wage comments” controversy, seemed to leave open to interpretation what she meant by her response to Amanpour and Patru still didn’t say “Yes” or “No” to whether mcMahon would support cutting Social Security or Medicaid; only under what circumstances she would support strengthening them.  The people of Connecticut deserve a direct, unequivocal answer as to whether a candidate for US Senate supports or doesn’t support cutting Social Security and Medicaid under any circumstances.

In another part of the Amanpour interview, McMahon defended the depiction of women in the WWE, the wrestling company of which she was CEO until she started her Senate run. She said the female wrestlers were “really powerful women.”