WASHINGTON — Stephanie McMahon's previous starring roles have included slapping her mother and calling her profane names. Now, Linda McMahon's Senate campaign is using the daughter in a loving testimonial that says "our home was always filled with love."
Republican Linda McMahon, trailing Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in their contest for the open Senate seat, began airing a TV ad Wednesday that features the daughter telling voters they don't really know her mother, a former wrestling executive. Democrats have seized on McMahon's tenure leading her family's World Wrestling Entertainment and have steadily highlighted sexual and violent content that, at times, included Stephanie McMahon.
"Most people just see one side of Linda McMahon: the tough, capable CEO who led the way on USO, Make a Wish projects and was instrumental in making WWE more family friendly," Stephanie McMahon says into the camera. "But I see the other side. I see my mom. And I hope that I can be half the mother to my three girls that she was to me."
Stephanie McMahon, an executive at WWE overseeing creative development, was one of the recurring characters on the wrestling series Linda and Vince McMahon built into an empire. But she's also been a character in what McMahon describes as a soap opera.
In one episode, Stephanie McMahon confronts her mother and smacks her to the ground.
"I have to give you credit. I certainly didn't think you had the guts to change the main event of WrestleMania," she says in one clip. "I bet you think you're pretty smart, too. But you're not. ... You're simply a conniving (expletive)."
That's a marked difference with the message Stephanie McMahon offers in the campaign's final week.
"When I was young, my parents lost everything, but I never knew because our home was always filled with love," she says.
McMahon's campaign said the WWE was meant as entertainment, not reality, and suggested that Stephanie McMahon was playing a role just as actors do.
"Anna Paquin doesn't really date vampires in real life, Christian Bale was just pretending to be Batman, and Russell Crowe never killed gladiators in the Coliseum," McMahon spokesman Ed Patru said.
"Democrats ought to know the difference between real life and entertainment because they've taken more than $50 million from Hollywood, TV, record company executives in the past two cycles. The president and Hillary Clinton sure understood the difference when they partnered with WWE to promote their campaigns in 2008."
The ad is the second of the campaign to feature Stephanie McMahon. The candidate's introductory message to voters was narrated by the daughter, who stood with her mother in a kitchen at the end.