More than 18 months after a gunman killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Sunday he thinks of the massacre "five or six times a day."
"You can't have lived through that or watched all of those parents who lost their loved ones and not be permanently impacted. And you certainly couldn't be the person in the firehouse who ultimately had to tell all of those families that they weren't going to be united without being impacted," Malloy told Brooks.
The Democratic governor, who is seeking a second term, released TV campaign ads that reference the December 2012 shootings. Without mentioning Sandy Hook, an announcer refers to "unimaginable evil let loose in the school."
The ad also mentions "historic storms that battered our communities."
Tom Foley, the endorsed Republican candidate for governor, said in a separate interview with NBC Connecticut's George Colli that Malloy connected with Connecticut residents in the aftermath of destructive storms and the Newtown massacre.
"Everybody sort of looks for leadership in times of crisis and tragedy so there's a natural inclination for people to want somebody to provide comfort and take charge and say that things will get better and people seem to have responded to what Gov. Malloy did, certainly with Hurricane Sandy and what happened at Sandy Hook."
Foley faces a challenge from Senate Minority Leader John McKinney in a Republican primary on Aug. 12.
Malloy said it bothers him that poll results from earlier this year show a majority of voters unhappy with his handling of the economy. But he blamed those negative impressions on what he said were his difficult budget decisions in a weak economy.
"There was no way to save our state's economic problems without taking some of the steps that we made," he said.
Malloy and the legislature's Democratic leadership approved increases in Connecticut's income and sales taxes in 2011, the governor's first year in office.
He also compared those who reject his position that Connecticut's economy is improving with so-called "birthers" who say President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
"We are turning this state around," Malloy said. "Things are in fact getting better although there may be deniers out there just as people will deny the president is an American citizen."