President Barack Obama, whose own popularity has fallen in this reliably Democratic state, is attending private fundraisers Thursday in
It's going to be a tough haul in an environment that is punishing experience and candidates' ties to the establishment, traits Blumenthal does not deny.
McMahon, whose family built massive wealth as owners of World Wrestling Entertainment, has pledged to spend $50 million to win the race. Blumenthal's campaign officials acknowledge they can't match that.
"I have established a record better than any amount of money," Blumenthal said during an interview. "We'll raise what we need to raise."
As volunteers prepared to go out and knock doors for him, Blumenthal told them, "The people of
McMahon's campaign retort: "This is an election, not a coronation. And Dick Blumenthal's suggestion that voters can be bought is an insult," said spokesman Shawn McCoy.
Facing the prospect of being vastly outspent, Blumenthal's campaign is trying to counter McMahon's topflight political machine with one-on-one campaigning and by highlighting his record of challenging special interests and fighting corruption as the state's attorney general.
As he walked through the Taste of Danbury food festival last weekend, he bought local barbecue sauce and promised young gymnasts he would come back and do handstands if he wins in November. He then talked about the state's consumer protection work.
"I always watch him on Channel 8. I know Richard Blumenthal," said Karen Ryan, a self-described Democrat from
"Is Blumenthal a Democrat or a Republican?" Ryan asked.
McMahon has run an aggressive campaign. She didn't shy from her campaign's role in aiding a New York Times story about Blumenthal on occasion misstating his record of service during the Vietnam War. On some recordings, he is shown saying he served "in"
While McMahon and Republicans have hammered him for that, it seems to have lost its oomph. McMahon's campaign has taken those attacks out of its rotation of glossy -- and expensive -- campaign mail pieces.
But she is still blanketing the state with other ads -- including in the pricey
Obama's visit is intended to help Blumenthal raise both his profile and some needed campaign cash. But the events will be private. Blumenthal said he hopes to have a public event with the president before November. Right now, though, he needs money.
Plus, it's not as if Obama is an answer to all that ails Blumenthal's campaign. Obama won