JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN,Associated Press
STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, appearing Monday with fellow Republican Linda McMahon in her campaign for U.S. Senate in Connecticut, slammed her opponent, Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, as so partisan "he might as well be Nancy Pelosi's butler."
The one-liner got big laughs at all three stops he made with McMahon in Stamford, Waterbury and Glastonbury. In contrast, he portrayed McMahon, a wealthy former professional wrestling executive, as someone who can work across party lines and use her business experience running World Wrestling Entertainment, now WWE, to help rebuild the nation's economy.
"This is a woman who does not need this job," Christie told hundreds in Glastonbury. "This is a woman who is doing this because she sees the perilous path we're on, she knows the right way to fix our country and you cannot hand this job over to just another career politician who is going to continue this failed course. You've got to send Linda McMahon to the United States Senate."
McMahon and Murphy are vying for the seat held by the retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent. Christie is the latest nationally known politician to stump for either candidate in the final weeks of the campaign. Former Democratic President Bill Clinton is coming to the state on Sunday to help Murphy.
Christie told a crowd of several hundred in Stamford that there will be calls to vote for a Democrat in a blue state like Connecticut, but he said McMahon appeals to voters of all backgrounds.
"But what you really have here is a distinction between someone who has spent her life working to build things and create things and her opponent who has spent his life as a career politician, the very type of divisive figure we need to get out of Washington D.C.," he said.
Christie called Murphy a "straight-line partisan Democrat" who won't reach across party lines. Referring to the top House Democrat, he said Murphy "might as well be Nancy Pelosi's butler."
"If you think Washington, D.C. is broken, why would we give one of the people who broke it a promotion?" said Christie, repeating a theme McMahon has used often on the campaign trail during her second run for U.S. Senate. She lost in 2010.
He cited McMahon's work as a businesswoman.
"She has a track record that shows she'll work with everybody," Christie said.
He implored crowds at all three events to spend the remaining days of the campaign persuading friends, colleagues and others to vote for McMahon, saying "you do not want me to go Jersey on you people" if Murphy wins.
Murphy has pointed to his work as co-chairman of the congressional Center Aisle Caucus, which seeks to promote civility in Congress, to highlight his spirit of bipartisanship. He said national Republicans are campaigning for McMahon because they want her to fight President Barack Obama over the next four years if he's re-elected.
Murphy also rejected arguments from Christie and others that McMahon is an independent thinker.
"At some point people have to ask, what do you mean when you say you're an independent thinker because on tax policy, on the environment, on health care, on contraception, on Medicare, on Social Security, there is no difference from what Linda McMahon has said and where the right-wing Republicans are in Washington," Murphy told The Associated Press during an interview Monday. "She has just advertised throughout this entire race that she is going to be a vote against Obama and a vote with the Republicans in the Senate, and it doesn't matter what label she continues to put on herself, the issues speak for themselves."
Murphy's campaign said Christie's visit was part of Republicans' agenda to support the wealthy.
"Chris Christie and Mitt Romney's tax breaks for millionaires and tax hikes for the middle class have failed time and again, but Linda McMahon wants to give them another try in Connecticut," said Ben Marter, spokesman for Murphy's campaign. "Connecticut voters rejected Linda McMahon's jobs-killing policies two years ago, and while she campaigns with more Republicans focused on the wealthiest Americans, it's clearer than ever that she doesn't represent Connecticut working families."
McMahon has repeatedly said it doesn't make sense to raise taxes on anyone, given the slow economy. Besides extending existing tax cuts due to expire, McMahon's plan calls for reducing the middle-class tax rate from 25 percent to 15 percent.
Associated Press Writer Susan Haigh in Hartford and Glastonbury, Conn., contributed to this report.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.