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Whitnum still invited to next Conn. Senate debate

By Susan Haigh
Associated Press / April 6, 2012
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HARTFORD, Conn.—The organizers of an upcoming Connecticut Democratic Senate debate said Friday they still expect all five candidates to attend, including Lee Whitnum, who called U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy a "whore" for his support of Israel during a live televised debate on Thursday night.

Several of the candidates have questioned whether Whitnum should be allowed to participate in future debates, given her comments.

CT1 Media, including FOX CT and the Hartford Courant, issued a statement saying the media company had asked all five candidates to recommit to the decorum rules in the debate agreement they originally signed. The event is scheduled for Monday at the University of Connecticut.

"If a candidate chooses to participate in the debate, they have made a commitment to abide by the rules of the debate," the statement said.

Also on Friday, Whitnum issued a statement on her website blaming her "disconnect and hostility" on being "flabbergasted" that her fellow candidates don't understand her positions. She blames supporters of Israel for getting the U.S. involved in Iraq.

"I was struck speechless. The entire reason why I run for public office is because of the Neoconservatives' role in the taking down of Iraq," she wrote. "I can't fathom that a congressman doesn't know about what happened."

Whitnum's campaign did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment Friday.

Nancy DiNardo, chairwoman of the Connecticut Democrats, said she plans to contact Whitnum next week and set up a meeting with her.

"I just feel that Lee Whitnum has stepped over the line with her comments. I'm going to reach out to her and talk about what the expectations would be about being a candidate," DiNardo said.

DiNardo said she doesn't intend to ask Whitnum to step aside from her candidacy.

"I think as more people on State Central hear about it, they may want to take some sort of action," she said.

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