Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Blumenthal's words on Vietnam spur more debate

By Ben Pershing
The debate over Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's military record raged on Thursday, with Democrats rallying around their Senate candidate even as another questionable incident emerged from his past.

Blumenthal, who is running to succeed retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D), has been under fire since Monday, when the New York Times reported that he had made misleading statements in the past suggesting he had served in Vietnam. Blumenthal was in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1970 to 1976 but never served overseas.

Blumenthal admitted Tuesday that "on a few occasions" he had "misspoken" about his record but noted that he had accurately described his service many times. Since then Democrats have seized on one piece of evidence they say works in Blumenthal's favor: The full-length video of Blumenthal at a 2008 event in Norwalk, during which he referred to "the days that I served in Vietnam," also shows him saying he "served in the military during the Vietnam era."

Democrats and liberal bloggers cited the video to argue that the Times' initial story was misleading, and reiterate their argument that the whole controversy had been ginned up by the campaign of former World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon, a Republican candidate for the Senate seat.

But Republicans noted that at least one more example of Blumenthal's "misspoken" words has emerged. The Stamford Advocate reports that during a 2008 Veterans Day parade in Stamford, Blumenthal said: "I wore the uniform in Vietnam and many came back to all kinds of disrespect."

Blumenthal may also face scrutiny for another issue regarding his military service -- why exactly he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970, leaving a job in the Nixon White House. Asked that question during his press conference Tuesday, Blumenthal said: "You know, a lot of people were making different choices during that period. Some people decided not to serve. I could have continued in the White House with a deferment. I wanted to move on with my life. I wanted to serve the country, and I'm proud of the fact that I made that decision and served and reached the rank of sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserve."

But as a Washington Post editorial noted Thursday, when Blumenthal was asked the same question by the Associated Press in 2002, he said he had enlisted because he had a "pretty low draft number," meaning that there was a chance he could be drafted once his existing deferment expired. Blumenthal had an "occupational deferment" at the time but could not have received another one, because three weeks after Blumenthal enlisted, the Nixon administration announced that such deferments would no longer be granted.

By Ben Pershing  |  May 20, 2010; 11:26 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , 44 The Obama Presidency  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rand Paul, back in the day: 'Crazy in a good way'
Next: Mark Souder Resigns on Top Aide's Wedding Day

Comments

With his qualifications, he is the perfect politician, right along with Joe McCarthy and John McCain and just about everyone of the Corporate owned genre.

Posted by: ragarne | May 26, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

With his qualifications, he is the perfect politician, right along with Joe McCarthy and John McCain and just about everyone of the Corporate owned genre.

Posted by: ragarne | May 26, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Don't mean nothing.

Posted by: gwcox2 | May 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Falsely claiming to have been in Vietnam is not the gravest crime in history, better described as petty and distasteful than evil, but it is a mortal sin in political life to get caught in this sort of embarrassing fabrication.

Just as well. Why would anyone vote for a man who tells a lie, when the truth ("I enlisted and served six years in the Marine Corps reserve during the war, but they didn't send me to Viet Nam") would serve him better?

Posted by: Observer44 | May 21, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Blumenthal did serve our country and then lied about his exploits in Vietnam. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton never wore the uniform of the U.S. Armed Forces but that didn't stop her from lying about coming under intense sniper-fire in Tuzla,Boznia while serving as First Lady in the White House. Marine uniform or a mini-skirt?

Posted by: dru4819 | May 21, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Connecticut Attorney General Blumanthal said he misspoke about his service in Vietnam. This statement further compounds the untruths he spoke to gain public support for political office. Plain and simple Mr. Blumanthal lied before veteran audiences. Too many people suffered and died to protect the principles of justice, freedom and democracy. For an individual to state he was in a military theater during a time of war and records showed he did not serve there reveals a flaw in his character that does not entitle him to serve our Country in the U. S. Senate. He has joined a long list of people who manufactured facts for personal political gain.

Posted by: MRGRG-USA | May 20, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Blumenthal is a malignant public figure, going backward from his news conference, where he portrayed himself as the victim. He clearly had no moral qualms about the war -- or any thoughts about it one way or the other -- but wanted to save his own skin and avoid interfering with his career goals. And so he took that little side-trip into employment with Daniel Patrick ("Benign Neglect") Moynihan at the Nixon White House. But he finally managed to find a berth that would keep him far from danger ("Toys For Tots" notwithstanding -- he never told about that, which makes one want to ask him, was it a so-called "Black Op," as in top secret?) Then, as an office-holder, he fakes his military history, and does it in such a way as to implicitly impugn the honor of people who did oppose the war, embracing those people and organizations that, in turn, embrace the war. Well, speaking as someone who opposed the war . . . it's bad enough when "war wimps" in the Bush White House hammer us for our beliefs, but I'll be damned if this guy is going to get away with it, and get political advantage from it. I'm a Democrat, but this is one Senate seat I'd rather see go to a Republican than to this guy.

Posted by: AGwyn97710 | May 20, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Your paper is also reporting a Stamford Advocate story from 20008 that quotes Blumenthal telling a crowd at a Veterans Day parade " I wore the uniform in Vietnam."

This is even more damning.

Posted by: VictoriaBalfour | May 20, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Your paper is also reporting a Stamford Advocate story from 20008 that quotes Blumenthal telling a crowd at a Veterans Day parade " I wore the uniform in Vietnam."

This is even more damning.

Posted by: VictoriaBalfour | May 20, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company