Now, it seems, the comments could become a focus in down-ballot races nationwide in much the same way as Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget plan now plays a role in numerous races, after Romney's pick of Ryan as his running mate.
Murphy is one of the first Democrats to attempt to tie his opponent to the remarks, and he likely jumped on the opportunity so quickly because they play easily into one of his main attacks on McMahon: that she was, during her time as CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., a greedy businesswoman looking to make a profit at the expense of her workers. His campaign has said as much before during the race, and campaign spokesman Eli Zupnick said so again in a release today on the remarks.
"No amount of campaign spin can change the fact that Linda McMahon supports Romney's right-wing Republican agenda to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires like her while dismantling Medicare and devastating the middle class here in Connecticut,” Zupnick said in a statement.
“The fact is the leader of her party was caught speaking honestly about the real McMahon-Romney agenda that would give Linda an additional $7 million tax break. Just like Romney, McMahon has a long disturbing history of laying off 10% of her workforce while taking $10 million in taxpayer money, as well as a plan to give millionaires like her a massive tax cut at the expense of middle class families."
That's a common refrain from the Murphy campaign and outside Democratic groups supporting him in the Senate race, and it seems that the Romney comments have offered the candidate another opportunity to repeat those attacks — with the hope that, if he's able to repeat them enough, they'll stick and help bring her down as they did during McMahon's unsuccessful Senate bid in 2010.
But this cycle, McMahon has made a concerted effort to share her past financial difficulties with voters, including a period during which she and husband Vince McMahon filed for bankruptcy. She cited that period in her response to Romney's comments, which she condemned.
"I disagree with Governor Romney’s insinuation that 47% of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care. I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be," she said in the statement posted on her website.
McMahon added that she is "sympathetic to the struggles that millions of Americans are going through because I've been there," citing the period in her life when she and her husband lost their home and car.
McMahon said that those struggles "were part of the foundation that I built my jobs plan on," and that she was running for Senate because she "know[s] the way out" of a financial situation like the one she was in early in her life.
—This post was published at 11:48 a.m. and updated at 12:42 p.m.