Senate Debate Takes Strange Turn

One of the candidates called another a "whore" for his stance on Israel.

It's not often the word "whore" plays into a U.S. Senate debate, but it happened on Thursday night as five Democratic candidates squared off in the first televised debate of the campaign season.

Lee Whitnum, an author from Greenwich who claims some of her ideas will anger voters, went after U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy for his stance on support for Israel.

"I am dealing with whore here, who sells his soul to AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), who will say anything for the job," she said, in regards to Murphy.

The day after those controversial comments were said, the chair of the Connecticut Democratic Party said she would be meeting with Whitnum next week.

"What she said was intollerable," Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo told NBC Connecticut. "The comments really crossed the line."

Murphy called Whitnum out after the comment, saying he had supported inclusion by all candidates in the debate, but might rethink his stance after Whitnum's "awful language."

"I advocated for all candidates to be a part these debates. I might think twice about that with that kind of awful language being used on the airwaves," Murphy said.

Murphy and Whitnum were joined in the debate by former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz, state Rep. William Tong and Matthew Oakes.

Whitnum is a vocal critic of U.S. aid to Israel, and has advocated prosecuting Jewish-Americans who settle in Israel and, in her words, "maim or kill in the Promised Land."

She also attacked Tong, calling him "ignorant" and a "zealot" for coming to Murphy's defense in support for Israel.

After the debate, Whitnum acknowledged she might have crossed the line and said she "wasn't really thrilled" with her performance.

In a new release sent out Friday, Whitnum blamed her outburst at what she called the other candidates' "apparent ignorance of well-documented fact."

"I was struck speechless," Whitnum said.  "The entire reason why I run for public office is because of the Neoconservatives' role in the taking down of Iraq.  A handful of people played my great country into unnecessary war.  This must never happen again."

In addition to the fireworks Thursday night, the candidates addressed their stances on the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, job creation and mortgage relief for families who owe more than their homes are worth.

The primary will be held on Aug. 14.

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