I’m Linda McMahon and my degree is in English, ah… no French, yeah… French

Recalling the “English, ah… no French, yeah… French” Episode.

As a strong supporter of public education, and having served on the General Assembly’s Education Committee, I found it particularly offensive when Governor Jodi Rell announced that she was appointing Linda McMahon to the Connecticut State Board of Education in January 2009.

After conducting some research, I wrote a memo to the Democratic members of the Legislature’s Nominations Committee outlining a number of factors that I believed made the case for rejecting her nomination and keeping McMahon off the State Board.

As a later Freedom of Information request by the Stamford Advocate’s Brian Lockhart revealed, when a member of the committee told Rell’s office that she had heard from a constituent who was “concerned about whether Mrs. McMahon would be an appropriate role model,” Rell’s staff, McMahon’s lobbyists and the WWE’s vice president of global public affairs kicked into high gear.  In one memo they explained that they were going to, “polish McMahon’s image, craft her confirmation hearing statements and schedule as many one-on-one meetings as possible with legislators.”

In another, McMahon’s operatives provided the Governor’s Office with “notes” responding to “a list of concerns being circulated by Jonathan Pelto.”

At the top of that “list of concerns” was the fact that, in a number of official places, Linda McMahon’s biography stated that she graduated from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in English.  However, East Carolina University listed her as having received a Bachelor’s degree in French in 1969.

For example, in documents submitted to the New York Stock Exchange, her biography reads, “Born October 4, 1948, and raised in New Bern, N.C., Mrs. McMahon was a high school honor society student who was also fond of basketball and tennis. She and Vince were married in 1966. After graduating from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., with a Bachelor of Science in Education, Linda and Vince moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a paralegal at the law firm of Covington & Burling.”  (see http://www.nyse.com/pdfs/LMcMahonBio.pdf)

However her most recent biography on the WWE website reads, “Born October 4, 1948, and raised in New Bern, N.C., Mrs. McMahon was a high school honor society student who was also fond of basketball and tennis. She and Vince were married in 1966.  After graduating from East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., with a Bachelor of Science in French and certified to teach, Linda and Vince moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a paralegal at the law firm of Covington & Burling.”

By the time McMahon went before the General Assembly’s Nominations Committee on February 5, 2009, her prepared statement read;

“A major interest in education has been a significant constant in my life. I attended East Carolina University with the goal of becoming a teacher.  However, a gentleman named Vince McMahon came into my life.  Vince and I were married while in college, and this changed the course of my life and my professional career.

After I graduated from East Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in French and certified to teach, Vince and I move to Washington…”

So, French it was…

And McMahon went on to be confirmed by the State Senate and House of Representatives and served on the State Board of Education for a year, before resigning to begin her first run for the United States Senate.

POST SCRIPT:  When I finally got a copy of Linda McMahon’s official State of Connecticut background questionnaire, a document that was signed and notarized on January 9, 2009, McMahon wrote (in her own handwriting) that she graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in English.

Yet as we now know, on February 5, 2009, when she testified before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Executive Nominations Committee, Linda McMahon said had graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in French.

But hey, English and French are both Indo-European languages, so it is easy to get them mixed up.

  • sharewhut

    Getting a bit worried about Murphy, Jon?

    • jonpelto

      Shhhh…. :). Like the budget deficit, if we don’t talk about it, the problem may just disappear. Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

      • sharewhut

        Ahhhh, but we bring up a pretty much non-issue at a time when serious questions about Murphy’s finances are dragging him down some?

        • jonpelto

          Well, not really – my point is that politicians have a tendency to be spin facts. To make their case – sometime that takes them to illogical ends.
          Mcmahon wanted to be on the state board of education and “lied” about her education. Now there is a tv ad – or is it.
          The two want to show us that they are one of the regular people and then attack each other for having financial problems.
          Okay anyone who has had problems drop out….

          To me the issue is not the problem but what you did about it and what you learned from it.

          Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

        • sharewhut

          Let’s see- January it was English, February corrected to French. Appears something done about it. Wasn’t like she claimed a degree when she hadn’t earned one at all.

        • Linda174

          No but she claims she cares about us commoners when she mostly cares about herself and her rise to fame. She will do nothing for those of us who make a pittance. All the money she spends on her campaigns…..probably close to 100 million could have helped some of the people or issues she is busy manipulating. I don’t buy her schtick….sorry….my mind is made up.

        • sharewhut

          Keep closing your eyes, covering your ears, and holding your noses and fill in that ‘D’ bubble. Worked pretty well so far

        • TMS

          What is Linda174 closing her eyes, holding her nose and covering her ears to? What about any of her posts would make you say that about her. Are you saying she is an uninformed voter?

        • sharewhut

          [email protected] wasn’t directed particularly @ Linda, it’s the format of the thread. And you kinda summarized my point re: the mortgage- while normal couples dealt with the worst score being enforced he got a pass..
          @Linda- C’mon, when’d ya ever see me upset ☺

        • TMS

          So you’re saying Murphy and his wife are not normal and they are the only ones who got a mortgage at a good rate. This is something you and Linda MaMahon can prove without a doubt. Wow, now people just make stuff up and call it a fact. Your whole dialogue just echos what is wrong with Linda MaMahon. Talk about diversions!

        • Linda174

          If D refers to democrats, you are wrong. I have voted for both parties in the past. I am informed. I just don’t agree with you here on this issue. Sorry to upset you….but keep reading and keep learning. God bless.

        • George Peterman

          Obviously you have your own bias in this issue, but the fact that she has created a narrative and can’t keep her own facts strait is important. Never mind the infuriating hypocrisy of attacking Murphy for having trouble with his morgage after she walked away from over a million dollars in debt (“pretty much non-issue” as you claim for McMahon), it’s the creation of a story that just isn’t true. Why is she going to such great lengths to distance herself from the company that made her a mulit-millionaire while she is running on the story of being a self-made success story? That is at the center of her story, yet the WWE has erased virtually all mention of her. So the lack of veracity is a real concern.
          And then there are those cheesy flyers that keep arriving in my mailbox (I’ve mailed several back to her headquarters in North Haven, firmly requesting that they remove me from their mailing lists, but those things keep coming). Photoshopping Murphy’s head onto images of a happy-go-lucky guy cruising around doing nothing is not even good propaganda. This is the most idiotic local campaign I’ve ever seen.

        • TMS

          I’m trying to figure out why missed payment on Murphy’s part are a big deal. How come McMahon’s bragging about her bankruptcy made her more like the “common people”, but Murphy’s missed payments makes him untrustworthy according to her commercials. People miss payments for many reasons: illness, layoffs, divorce, but that doesn’t make them deadbeats or bad people. I’ve fallen into all three of those categories, but I was blessed to land on my feet. I’m more concerned with her policies and how they will affect OUR quality of life than whodidn’t pay a bill. If the candidate is going to make sure we all have access to healthcare, our children get a great public school education and we don’t kill our young in senseless wars, then what do I care if someone paid a bill late. It happens to the best of us.
          BTW, if your “serious questions” is referring to his relationship between Webster Bank and his position on the banking commission, I’m here to tell you that as a Black woman, I’m NEVER going to get the same consideration for a mortage as any White person will so go back and connect those dots and see what you come up with.

        • sharewhut

          I applied for a refi in same time frame as Mr. Murphy.
          Solid employment history, decent credit score, stable 20+ year employment history, etc.
          Mr. Murphy got the going rate at the time based on his wife’s credit rating, the higher of the two.
          I got knocked out of the low rate bracket based on my wife’s score, which was slightly lower than mine.
          Several banks.Wasn’t discretionary, no over rides.
          Representative on a key commission. Bank can choose which to use?
          Of course maybe he signed everything over to his wife to keep his score out of it.
          But that would open up a new can of worms.

        • TMS

          Sharewhut: So what’s your point? Are you saying Murphy was the ONLY one who got what you consider to be a great rate? Actually, it was his wife who got the great rate, as you say it was your wife’s rate that got you knocked out of the bracket. It seems to me that you proved that both you and Murphy got equal treatment. Let’s be real, I’m talking about realife circumstances, not one-offs. Systemic racism is alive and well in the good ole USA no matter which state (lbue or red) you live in. As I was taught by two incredible parents, it is what it is so deal with it, don’t let it stop you and strive to be the best you can be. That includes understanding what is really at stake and doing the right thing for everyone. Racism will NEVER be eradicated from the US or the world for that matter. That’s why all of this is so irrelevant to me whether it be McMahon or Murphy with all of the other issues I, as a Black person, has to deal with on a daily basis. I will vote for the person who I feel will do the best they can for EVERYONE. I’m with Jon, I’m sick of having to choose between the lesser of two evils and that goes for the presidential race as well.

        • Apartheid First

          So true. Just to bring this back to the schools issue, if the “reform” doesn’t in some way benefit white and middle-class families, then it won’t be done. If it “only” harms people of color, the poor, and immigrants, your average moral, religious-service observing middle class person is not really going to notice. Magnet schools get better facilities, more stable finances, and well-treated staff so that they can appeal to and attract white/middle class students. No point having beautiful, well-stocked schools just for people of color. And that’s the American Way, amen!

        • Linda174

          For me, serious questions about McMahon’s credibility and motivations have always dragged her down, but I am especially fond of all the Linda signs out there. When she loses, I will plaster them on my classroom walls!

  • Apartheid First

    The multi-lingual, many-tongued Linda McMahon was probably a triple-major at ECU. Her answer reminds me of that of another hard-hitting Republican woman, Sarah Palin–when asked which newspapers she read she said, “All of them!” When asked which founding father was her favorite, she said “All of them!” So, perhaps next time we ask Linda McMahon, the great lover of education, what subject she majored in in college, she’ll say, “All of them!”

    • jonpelto

      You definitely win the award for the best comment of the day and its only 8:30

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • JMC

    Jon – it is quite possible that McMahon graduated with a B of S degree in Education with certification to teach both French and English, and that one of the two was a “minor”. In that case it would not be deceptive to claim either or both.

    • jonpelto

      That is true….

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • Linda174

      Apparently she is very good at BS, English or French doesn’t really matter….bullsh*# is still bullsh*#.

      • JMC

        Linda174 – I agree. How do you feel about Richard Blumenthal’s claims that he was a Vietnam vet?

        • Linda174

          He plays loose with the facts as well and to his benefit, but I would NEVER vote for McMahon. She gives Lindas a bad name.

  • Jon Kantrowitz

    Well, I’m sure her degree was printed in English, so in a sense her degree was in English!

    • Jon Kantrowitz

      My degrees are in Latin!

      • Apartheid First

        Summa cum laude, I’ll bet!

  • sharewhut

    My main point is- does this affect how she will represent us in the Senate?
    I see bringing it up as being a diversionary tactic…

  • jonpelto

    sharewhut and JMC, I guess the issues that you are touching on are sort of the point I was trying to make (although now perhaps not as well as I should have). Here we are 3rd week of the September and they will be $10 million, $20 million, $30 million in negative ads? What is fair game and what is not. They claim they both are “one of the people” then then attack each other for the financial difficulties that
    “real people have”. They rightfully talk about the negative influence of money, but then agree that it will take tens of millions to win. Here we have a situation in which Linda McMahon swore to the accuracy of the statement that she had a degree in English, but when I raised the point she testified that her degree was in French (which it was). Is it an issue that she said two different things within 30 days of each other. Is it more of an issue because the English Statement was under oath and notarized. What is she just forgot, but then realized. Considering she said one thing under oath, does she have the obligation to go back make sure the original document is changed to reflect the truth. She provided the New York Stock Exchange with the “wrong” information —- but it is only the matter of what degree she got, not what school she went to. Is that an SEC violation. No… because it has no bearing on her ability to make money for her shareholders. How about voters? Does it impact her credibility to talk about education? I mean there is a pretty big difference between wanting to be a teacher and getting a degree in English and wanting to be a teacher and getting a degree in French. But it is hard to imagine it really matters now… except the “lie” if you want to call it that took place recently and in conjunction with an attempt to make her look like she was qualified for the State Department of Education.

    So the point I was trying to make is that when campaigns go “negative,” the entire agenda shifts from what will you do right to what did they do wrong.

    And God knows, people do a lot of “wrong things”, but does that make them incapable of serving in elective office?

    • sharewhut

      My last on this,just to satisfy my own curiosity- do you have something other than the link provided
      “POST SCRIPT: When I finally got a copy of Linda McMahon’s official State of Connecticut background questionnaire, a document that was signed and notarized on January 9, 2009, McMahon wrote (in her own handwriting) that she graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in English.”?
      I see no handwritten (other than signatures), and degree is Education…

    • JMC

      Jon – Here are some indices for you: 1) How do you feel about Elizabeth Warren as a candidate in MA? 2) What qualifications would a good Republican senate candidate have to have in CT to be acceptable to you? 3) What was your public reaction to US Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s repeated statements to certain audiences that he was a Vietnam vet (“When I got home from Vietnam…”)?
      Of course no lies of any kind from any candidate are to be tolerated. One of my college roomate’s degrees was in Latin from the School of Education. In our college yearbook he described his major as “Classics”. But he had dropped out of Freshman Greek at the end of one week. Two of his Ed classmates had also dropped out, but rightly called themselves “Latin” majors, not the more prestigious “Classics” majors in the yearbook. Was my roomate a liar? Hard to say. Certainly somewhat of a poseur.

      • jonpelto

        JMC, those are all fair questions… and, of course, I’ve found that my perspective of the Democratic Party has changed as the Democratic Party decided to walk away from the Middle Class and pander to select constituencies without actually doing anything for them. I’m particularly tired of voting for the less of two evils.

        I’ll respond in more detail to your particular questions when I get a chance. My guess is that although our belief about the role of government is pretty different, the way we’d answer those questions and the way we’d select really “good” candidates are not that different.

  • Linda174

    She is super wealthy but filed for bankruptcy many years ago, but decided to make payments now and only due to her campaigning.

    She promoted the disgrace and sexualization of women but she served on the State BOE.

    She majored in English, no it was French.

    She chides others for not paying their bills, but she is late on her taxes for a second or third home….taxes are for the little people.

    Sounds like the perfect candidate for political office especially when, and now I shall borrow from Chris Hedges and I will link the full article:

    “Politicians are the public face of corporate power. They are corporate employees. Their personal narratives, their promises, their rhetoric and their idiosyncrasies are meaningless. And that, perhaps, is why the cost of the two presidential campaigns is estimated to reach an obscene $2.5 billion. The corporate state does not produce a product that is different. It produces brands that are different. And brands cost a lot of money to sell.”

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/page2/how_do_you_take_your_poison_20120924/

  • Guest

    Let me tell you something “Mean Gene”! Linda McMahon is buying an election! And all you little Linda maniacs out there better obey your masters, and become good little conservatives because she’s going to squeeze the living hell out of the middle class. “Squeeze gluts and pecs”.

    This election is sickening!!!! Both Murphy and McMahon sicken me. As a matter of fact their campaigns are a microcosm of a much larger presidential campaign and society as a whole.

    We are a rude, arrogant, all about me society. Our leaders are perfect examples of what we shouldn’t be as a people and a nation.

  • buygoldandprosper

    Sad that the choices for elected officials in this state are BAD or WORSE. Like Dan Malloy,Joe Lieberman,ChrisDodd and many more,they Linda has earned a post college degree in BS-ing.
    Good report Jon.

  • msavage

    I find both Murphy and McMahon detestable at this point. Murphy seems to have used his position to gain preferential treatment. That, and I don’t feel that someone who cannot even keep his own personal finances straight should be entrusted with decisions that will affect the lives of all of us. My opinion re McMahon–she will say whatever she needs to to get elected, then will vote with the rest of the 1% set. Unfortunately the Green party candidate sounds like a bit of a loon. Again–what to do?

    Oh, and JMC– to answer your Dick Blumenthal question–I think his lie re his Vietnam service was despicable. Found it very hard to believe that TRUE Vietnam vets were so quick to forgive him. If there had been a viable choice other than McMahon I would have voted against him. I’ve had ENOUGH of the lesser of two evils. Time to wipe out the evil altogether, in my opinion.

    • JMC

      Yes, they are both very flawed candidates. I also have heard that Blumenthal is one of the richest US Senators, which didn’t seem to be an issue for him as it is for McMahon.

  • Guest