Planned Parenthood is using the final days of the election to go after wrestling-executive-turned-Senate-hopeful Linda McMahon in a mail campaign targeting thousands of Connecticut women.
Roll Call obtained the mailers, which describe scenes from WWE events that Democrats have long been trying to use against the Connecticut Republican.
“Linda McMahon is an out-of-touch millionaire who made her fortune from sex, violence, and exploitation of women,” reads the first of three double-sided pieces of mail sent to roughly 10,000 female independents over the past eight days, including one piece today.
Team McMahon, meanwhile, said the mailers smack of coordination and accused Planned Parenthood of being a Democratic front group. A McMahon spokesman said if his boss were a Democrat, Planned Parenthood would “be thanking her” for all WWE did for young girls. Instead, the McMahon campaign thinks the group is working with her rival state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D).
One of the mailers features a color photo of an empty wrestling ring and the following text:
“A woman stands before thousands of cheering men while her employer commands her to get down on her hands and knees and bark like a dog, before she is forced to remove her clothing,” it reads. “Another woman is seemingly knocked unconscious by a muscular man, and as he stands over her, he forces a kiss upon her lifeless face as a ring announcer claims that the woman liked it.’
The mailer notes: “And Linda McMahon says the WWE: Is all about entertainment.'”
McMahon spokesman Ed Patru was incensed, and sent Roll Call an unusually long response:
“Planned Parenthood isn’t a women’s advocacy organization, it’s a Democrat Party advocacy operation that, as we found out this week, illegally coordinates its activities with Democrat campaigns. They are engaged in an illegal and reprehensible coordination scheme with Dick Blumenthal to dig up dirt on women associated with WWE. And clearly there is coordination, because there’s no other explanation for the fact that Blumenthal’s campaign knew Planned Parenthood is looking for dirt on women associated with WWE.
“If Linda were a Democrat, Planned Parenthood would absolutely be endorsing her, they’d be thanking her for the hundreds of wishes WWE has granted to little girls through Make-A-Wish, they’d be showering praise on WWE for its all-PG programming that portrays women as strong and independent, and for being a company in which women hold many of the top executive positions. If it wants to be intellectually honest, Planned Parenthood ought to demand that its Democrat Party allies return the more than $50 million in campaign contributions it took from movie, television and music executives over the past two cycles — unless of course they don’t find anything objectionable in those industries. It’s also worth remembering that Planned Parenthood didn’t have a single criticism for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton when they partenered with WWE to promote their candidacies in the weeks leading up to the 2008 elections.”
Patru also said Blumenthal’s campaign is “degenerating further and further into the gutter.”
He added that the Democrat is trying to “distract voters.”
None of the mailers feature photos of women being victimized. An e-mail surfaced last week from a Blumenthal staffer, who asked other campaign workers for “misogynistic photos of women and WWE.” “Planned Parenthood wants to hit LM hard on it,” the staffer wrote.
The message prompted McMahon to allege illegal coordination between the Democratic campaign and an outside group. Planned Parenthood and Blumenthal’s office insist they did nothing wrong.
“The Planned Parenthood Action Fund followed all the laws,” spokesman Tait Sye said Tuesday. “We are targeting independent voters — in these close races, they’re the key, or at least one of the big swing groups. We are a trusted messenger with them.”
The organization’s third mailer ignores McMahon completely, and simply encourages Connecticut women to “Vote for women’s health. Vote for Richard Blumenthal.”
The third mailer was distributed Tuesday, the same day that a Quinnipiac University poll gave Blumenthal a 12-point lead — 54 percent to 42 percent — over McMahon. The numbers are based on a survey of 702 likely voters taken Oct. 18 to 24. The poll notes that women overwhelmingly back Blumenthal, 61 percent to 35 percent, while men split, with 49 percent for McMahon and 47 percent for Blumenthal. There was a 3.7-point margin of error for the poll.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is one of just three outside groups to make independent expenditures on the Democratic side so far. But having spent $18,000 to date, their investment is dwarfed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s $1.6 million.
The other Democrat-friendly outside group, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, spent $36,000 on a radio ad campaign last week.
On the other side, McMahon’s personal wealth has allowed conservative groups, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to spend their money elsewhere. She has already loaned her campaign more than $40 million to date.
The NRSC hasn’t spent any money on independent expenditures in Connecticut, according to Federal Election Commission filings, while just two conservative groups have devoted financial resources. They are the National Rifle Association ($14,455) and FreedomWorks ($5,358).