McMahon lays out spending cuts; Blumenthal says attacks cut lead

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.

The former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment also said she much prefers how professional wrestling depicts women now than perhaps when she was in charge, while defending the right of content providers to show controversial content.

McMahon — who has run a surprisingly competitive race against Democrat state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to replace retiring Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) — offered some specifics to ABC's "This Week" host Christiane Amanpour over how she would roll back non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels.

“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,” McMahon said in a taped interview with Amanpour broadcast Sunday. “You can look at a 10 percent cut across the board.”

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

She also said the balance of the money from last year’s economic stimulus bill should go toward paying down the debt.

McMahon also said professional wrestling on television is better at depicting women now than perhaps in the past.

“WWE programming has changed from being TV-14 over the years … into now being PG,” she said. “I’m happy with the content today.” WWE changed its TV Parental Guidelines rating from TV-14 to PG in 2008.

McMahon — who helped manage a professional-wrestling empire with her husband Vince McMahon from 1980 until last year — said she believes in the right of content providers to show controversial programming.

“From an entertainment point of view, I think that you either elect to go to a movie or you elect to watch a program, so I’m a strong proponent of First Amendment rights.”

She also said the women depicted by WWE “really are powerful women, and the programming content, as I’ve said, has changed from TV-14 to TV-PG. I much prefer it today.”

Blumenthal, meanwhile, addressed the controversy surrounding misstatements he made about his service in Vietnam.

“I have answered the question about Vietnam, saying that I am sorry that I inaccurately described my military record,” he told Amanpour in a separately taped interview. “I'm proud of having served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. And I think the voters of Connecticut are concerned about the real issues, and I believe that those are the issues that will be center in the election.”

When asked about his once wide lead that has dramatically narrowed since January, Blumenthal told host Christiane Amanpour that a tight race had been expected from the outset.

"And a $50 million negative attack machine is bound to narrow the polls, and we expected it," he said. "It's happened."

"I think there is a very clear contrast between someone who has been a CEO, claims to create jobs, and has treated people in a way I don't think the people of Connecticut would want anyone representing them to treat them," Blumenthal added.

This story has been corrected at 3:30 p.m. from an earlier version