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Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Final, Free-Wheeling TV Forum for Foley, McKinney

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

New Haven – In their final televised forum before the Republican primary for governor Tuesday, Tom Foley and John P. McKinney today strived during a free-wheeling hour to undermine each other’s ability to be a credible voice for change against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in November.

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Tom Foley and John P. McKinney at their second and final debate. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CTMirror.org photo

The live WTNH, Channel 8 event was a contentious exercise in political branding. Foley punched out poll-tested phrases: McKinney was a “political insider” and “career politician.” McKinney countered that Foley’s retreat to talking points made him the true career pol and called into question his mastery of issues and ability to lead.

The moderators gave the two candidates free rein, a license McKinney was eager to employ as he tries to close on Foley, who began the race as the acknowledged favorite, buoyed by name-recognition as the 2010 nominee who lost to Malloy by a scant half-point.

Malloy was a palpable presence at their only other one-on-one televised encounter, a debate last month airing on FoxCT. The first-term Democrat was less a factor Sunday, perhaps a nod by Foley to McKinney’s sharper tone in recent weeks. For the first time, McKinney seemed to be top of mind for Foley.

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