Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Blumenthal told truth on same day he fibbed

Now this sheds a bit more light on the Richard Blumenthal mess.

The Associated Press has now obtained a longer version of the 2008 video that surfaced yesterday showing Blumenthal making a speech and fibbing about his military service, leading to a huge forestorm.

In the same speech, he also describes his service accurately, saying he served in the Marine Corps "during the Vietnam era." In other words, he got it right before he misrepresented it:

Early in the speech he says: "I really want my words of thanks as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps -- by the way, do we have any Marine Corps veterans here? Raise your hand."

Later in the speech he commits the offending gaffe: "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam."

This doesn't change the fact that Blumenthal did, whether by accident or by design, falsely repesent his service by saying he'd "served in Vietnam." And The Times had other examples of this, too, though they weren't as conclusive.

But this new vid suggests the possibility that he may not have intended to mislead at this particular gathering. The shorter version of this video initially posted by The New York Times didn't contain this earlier part, for reasons that are unclear.

At a minimum, even if you don't think this longer video is exculpatory in any way, the larger context it shows definitely deserves to be part of the discussion.

The kicker: This longer version of the video was posted, inexplicably, by the campaign of potential GOP hopeful Linda McMahon.

By Greg Sargent  |  May 19, 2010; 2:22 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Who woulda thunk it: Fact-checking is popular!
Next: Times defends posting of clipped Blumenthal video

Comments

Shame is the first thought that comes to mind

Posted by: Chris-TheFold | May 19, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

This story is done.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 19, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it was really just misplaced words.

Posted by: maritza1 | May 19, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

This is OT, but I haven't quoted the Blue Texan in awhile and he really cracks me up.

"I do loves me some wingnut pundit fail.

HANNITY: All right. The race that I am most interested in tonight, and we may get the results maybe sometime this hour and if we do, I’m very interested in this, and that is the Pennsylvania 12 race.

And here you have John Murtha’s old seat he held for all these years. 2-1 Democrat to Republican registration in the district. It’s literally neck-and-neck going into this race. If Burns pulls this off tonight what would that say to you?

PALIN: I think Burns will pull this off tonight. And just like the “Randslide” that we were just talking about, you’re going to see Burns having this representation of a smaller, smarter government, getting the economy back on the right track with some limited overreach of the government. That’s what Burns stands for. [...] We need someone like Tim Burns in there. And you’re going to see that via vote today with the electorate.

Only the Quitter can so effortlessly produce phrases like “via vote today with the electorate.” That’s why she gets the big bucks.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 19, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

30 point lead yesterday, 3 point lead today. This story isn't over, but Blumenthal's election chances are.

Posted by: obrier2 | May 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I saw the latest story at another site (delong.typepad.com) just after reading your post on ap fact checking. I came back to comment on how I just found a great example of the ap checking facts, and, lo and behold, here it is.

The AP checked the claims of fact in the New York Times story which the New York Times didn't check. I'm shocked, because I tend to respect the New York Times.

Posted by: rjw88 | May 19, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Imsinca. My guess is they won't be spending too much time talking about this tonight on his show.

"...getting the economy back on the right track with some limited overreach of the government."

What the hell does that even mean? Is there some sort of a special decoder ring that works for "stupid"?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | May 19, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

What a fresh new take on an old defense.

I told the truth before I lied

. . . and after I had lied and misled some other times, and after years of letting my military service be misrepresented in stories about me

. . . but, you know, I'm just a politician and can't spend my time keeping track of media stories about myself. I don't know how so many people in the media could have gotten the idea I had served in Vietnam. I had no idea.

It's all pathetic and outrageous, and every liberal who is defending this guy here is a raging hypocrite.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 19, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

McMahon posted it because Connecticut voters are unmoved by this issue (contrary to a Rasmussen poll).

Posted by: darrren12000 | May 19, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

quarterback:
"What a fresh new take on an old defense."

Is that what it is?

It seems mighty like the "liar with a bad memory" story to me, but then this is the Age of Obama, and nothing is waht it appears to be anymore...

Yours in Transparency;

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 19, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

You neglect to mention the video where he said he was "spat upon" when he returned from overseas.

He knew exactly what he was saying.

Also, he's seen a huge drop in numbers since this all came out yesterday, according to Reuters.

Posted by: VictoriaBalfour | May 19, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

This is more evidence that maybe he just misspoke.

This leads to a few questions:

1) Why is it so hard for people to believe that Blumenthal, just like everyone else, makes mistakes? [He seemed to be speaking extemporaneously; people are inclined to make mistakes when they do that.]

2) Do people seriously think that he would accurately state his record and then intentionally misrepresent it in a span of less than 4-5 min?

3) Why do people take what the NYT writes as the "gospel"? It's scary how a journalists was able to construct a narrative about Blumenthal, based on specious "evidence" and conjecture, and people have swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Reread the article and pay attention to picture of a privileged draft-dodger who "ingratiated" himself to avoid service it seeks to paint.

The article offers one major example -- the one used in the video above -- without noting that he accurately described is service in the same setting. It also relies on things like Blumenthal not correcting errant reports that he was on the swim team to impugn his character.

Do people really not have a problem with the paper using such episodes as "proof"? Do people really think that it's not up to journalists to get their facts right before they run a story? Is it now the fault of journalists' subjects when JOURNALISTS don't get the facts right? Aren't journalists supposed to research the facts before they go to press with a story? Aren't journalists supposed to refrain from editorialization when writing "non-opinion" articles?

This entire episode borders on farce that says as much, if not more, about the current state of journalism as it does about Blumenthal.

Posted by: associate20 | May 19, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Greg, please, stop defending this liar. You may not think you are, but that's how it comes across.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 19, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

SDJeff, please, stop calling this guy a liar. You may not think you are a fool, but that's how it comes across.

There's no evidence, none, that documents that this guy lied, or 'fibbed' as Greg said. He misspoke. He said something that wasn't true. But not all things that aren't true are LIES! A lie is something said with the intent to deceive. If Blumenthal intended to deceive voters in Connecticut, why did he say in a debate back in March "Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have seen firsthand the effects of military action, and no one wants it to be the first resort, nor do we want to mortgage the country's future with a deficit that is ballooning out of control."

Why would he state without qualification that he "did not serve in Vietnam" in March if he had the intent to deceive?

Posted by: slouise217 | May 19, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

"If Blumenthal intended to deceive voters in Connecticut, why did he say in a debate back in March "Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have seen firsthand the effects of military action, and no one wants it to be the first resort, nor do we want to mortgage the country's future with a deficit that is ballooning out of control." Why would he state without qualification that he "did not serve in Vietnam" in March if he had the intent to deceive?"

Sorry, but that's too much. Positively Clintonesque. There is no doubt, even in the clip Greg linked, that Blumenthal was trying to convey the impression that he was a Vietnam vet. Why would he do that? Probably because he's a jock sniffer who got carried away wrapping himself in the Flag? Why else might he do that? Maybe it's pathological. Why else? Who knows? Why did Elliot Spitzer consort with hookers? It's bizarre behavior. Unless and until Blumenthal comes clean and APOLOGIZES FOR MISLEADING PEOPLE, he is radioactive. Now if he does fess up will that guarantee forgiveness and political success? No, but that's what it means to be truly sorry: you take your lumps.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

SDJeff sounds like the kind of Democrat that make the party as disfunctional as it is sometimes.

A Ben Nelson-Stephanie Herseth Democrat. With Democrats like that, who needs Republicans?

Or is he a Dem at all? Maybe some kind of wishywashy centrist? What is it Jeffy?

Posted by: tslynch27 | May 19, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The liar tag may stick, but unless he repeated his in vs during mistake or intentionally misrepreesnted his service other times, he doesn't deserve it. SD Jeff, you seem really passionate about this. Would he contradict himself during what looks like a talk without notes and intentionally lie about something that is so easy to verify? He is not Sue Lowden with the chicken barter, after all.

@qb: "and after I had lied and misled some other times, and after years of letting my military service be misrepresented in stories about me"--Where are the links? Without documentation this sounds like more qb misinformation.

@ VictoriaBalfour: "You neglect to mention the video where he said he was "spat upon" when he returned from overseas."-- where is the link to this video or a transcript? Without it, you are just making a unsupported accusation.

Posted by: srw3 | May 19, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Rather than being exculpatory, it could illustrate just how mixed up Blumenthal is regarding his stories about his military service: he can't keep his story straight. Maybe he has been parsing his story so finely that he inevitably ended up conflating the two versions in one speech.

Again, if he was being scrupulously honest about his record, he would have corrected the misinformation about him which was published in articles written by others. He may not have spent a great deal of effort in actively deceiving people in regards to whether or not he saw combat, but neither did he actively seek to correct the record when false impressions became part of the public record. He seemed to be quite content if people believed that he actually had seen combat. His claims of scrupulous ethics on this issue seem very implausible.

Blumenthal is still a liar and should resign. This WILL be used against him in the general election. I think this is far too big a liability.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 19, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks wbgonne, obviously I agree with you.

slouise, there is plenty of evidence that he fibbed, at the least, and lied at the worst. You can't convince me that an Attorney General would accidentally misspeak on many occasions about having been "in Vietnam" when he only intended to convey that he served during that time. We all understand that it is a major difference to have actually seen combat than to have only served. Soldiers have told me this too.

My brother was a Marine who protested against the Iraq War. In mentioning his service, he knew that the fact that he'd never seen combat would be a slight detriment to his credibility, and when he was asked in interviews if he'd served in the first Gulf War, he always stated flatly and unambiguously "I did not fight in the Gulf War."

My guess(and it's only conjecture) is that Blumenthal realized at some point in the past, at least a couple years ago, that his constant references to having served "in Vietnam" could be problematic for his future political aspirations, so he started phasing it out, specifically so he could say "Hey I didn't ALWAYS say it."

Posted by: SDJeff | May 19, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

If the people of Connecticut want to be represented by a serial "misspeaker" then that is their prerogative.

Posted by: sbj3 | May 19, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

IOKIYAR: (via Benen)

In an even more contemporary example, Jamison Foser flags this piece from Bob Somerby, who notes Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) exaggerated rhetoric about the first Iraq war.

What happened in 1998 when Graham, then a Republican congressman, was caught up in a much more extensive version of this mess? Graham had endlessly told the world that he was a "Gulf War veteran," although his service during that period hadn't taken him off the east coast. (The east coast of the U.S. ) By the way: In Graham's case, we weren't discussing a single misstatement from a single, two-year-old speech; Graham had endlessly presented himself as a "Gulf War veteran." [...]

Graham should refer to himself as a ''Gulf War era veteran," we were told -- and that's pretty much the basis on which this flame was allowed to blow out. The flap about Graham blew over quickly, helped along by this sage advice. The fiery young fellow was allowed to proceed with the important business of impeaching the president.

And today, some twelve years later? Of course! On page one, the New York Times indicts a major Democrat, complaining that he once said, completely correctly, that he served "during the Vietnam era." The use of "era" solved Graham's problem. Twelve years later, the same construction is used, by the Times, to define Richard Blumenthal's "lies."

The Hill reported in 1998 that Graham made "repeated statements that he served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 19, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"SDJeff sounds like the kind of Democrat that make the party as disfunctional as it is sometimes.

A Ben Nelson-Stephanie Herseth Democrat. With Democrats like that, who needs Republicans?

Or is he a Dem at all? Maybe some kind of wishywashy centrist? What is it Jeffy?"

tslynch, I don't recognize your name. Were you around before the Plum Line moved? I've been posting on this blog long enough to have earned the respect of many of the regulars and the scorn of the trolls. I'm a left leaning progressive independent, not a card carrying democrat. I'm sorry I don't toe the party line as you may wish.

I'm trying to keep republicans from gaining Senate seats. Apparently you and I have different ideas of how to accomplish that, but I won't question your credibility.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 19, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

This is how SBJ and the rest of the GOP apologists like their politics:

*House GOP stops major science, technology bill*

Funding would have promoted education, as well as new technologies

It was strike two for a major science funding bill Wednesday as House Republicans again united to derail legislation they said was too expensive.

Going down to defeat was legislation that would have committed more than $40 billion over three years to boost funding for the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies involved in basic and applied science, provided loan guarantees to small businesses developing new technologies and promoted science and math education.

Congress enacted a first version of the legislation in 2007 with a large majority in the House and a unanimous vote in the Senate. But in this election year, with Republicans out to show their anti-spending credentials and intent on disrupting the Democratic agenda, things are different.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37237288/ns/politics/

Republicans are a DISGRACE to society.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 19, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, don't you know they only want more financial wizards graduating, who needs science and math. I'll tell you my very smart daughter ended up getting private funding for her Masters as CSM because none of the public programs she was accepted into had any money for research, and we're talking major schools across the country. It's pretty disappointing to see this kind of crap being handed down.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 19, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Truly indefensible, lmsinca. Truly...

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 19, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"House GOP stops major science, technology bill* Funding would have promoted education, as well as new technologies It was strike two for a major science funding bill Wednesday as House Republicans again united to derail legislation they said was too expensive."

Ehtan: The GOP is so f-ing stupid it is incredible. Obama is surely correct on this: No, you can't have the keys again.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 19, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

All, this is a must-read:

***Club for Growth's electoral tactics causing headaches for GOP***

The organization, which is based in Washington but has strong ties to Wall Street, is fast becoming a thorn in the side of the Republican Party, exercising influence out of proportion to its size. The group's political action committee has endorsed 11 candidates so far and is likely to weigh in on a dozen more races by November with both endorsements and financial support, organizers said.

[...]

But the decade-old group is causing major headaches for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republican leaders, who are attempting to navigate between the demands of the energized tea party movement and a desire to attract more independent and moderate voters in November. The defeat of Bennett, regularly rated as one of the Senate's most conservative members, particularly rankled GOP leaders.

[...]

Although the organization hopes to benefit from populist discontent, its roots are decidedly elite. The organization grew out of the Political Club for Growth, founded by investment banker Dick Gilder, who hosted private fundraising salons at his Manhattan brokerage firm in the 1980s and 1990s for GOP stalwarts such as Newt Gingrich and Steve Forbes.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/19/AR2010051902754.html

Lots in there that I skipped... Worth a read for sure.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 19, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"The GOP is so f-ing stupid it is incredible. Obama is surely correct on this: No, you can't have the keys again."

Indeed, how did science ever exist before the United States Government funded science education?

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 19, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

QB, you didn't have to prove us right, but thanks anyway.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 19, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

@qb: Indeed, how did science ever exist before the United States Government funded science education?

First, government has subsidized higher education in science (and other fields) through student loans, grants, and subsidies for all research universities

And, science wouldn't exist in its current form without direct and sustained government funding, both for basic research and support of universities that produce scientists and engineers.

There would be no internet without government funding it for 40 or so years to different national labs around the country.

All of the scientific discoveries in manned space flight would not exist without extensive and exclusive government funding. In addition, all of the spin off technologies from the space program would not exist.

Beyond manned space flight, all of the advances in astronomy and astrophysics come from government supported and subsidized research universities building large telescopes.

Without NASA there would be no Hubble or Chandra orbiting telescopes or any of the unmanned satellites that advance astronomy and astrophysics.

Without NASA, DOD (they have their own environmental satellites) and NOAA launching and maintaining environmental monitoring satellites, there would be few advances in meteorology, atmospheric science, and numerical modeling.

All of the major advances in medical research come either from NIH or NSF grants and/or government supported or subsidized research universities (actually there are no completely private, no govt subsidy research universities).

All of the advances (such as they are) in nuclear and particle physics, nuclear chemistry, and nuclear power and technology are completely funded through the DOE, DOD, or other federal agencies.

Whatever technological advances developed by government agencies or private industry would grind to a halt without a steady supply of scientists and engineers that come from government supported research universities.

Encouraging STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in schools started in the 60's with the space program and made the US into the world leader in these fields. Starting with Reagan, these initiatives were stunted or cut. Consequently, the US has lagged behind other countries in producing scientists and engineers. Many of the graduate science and math students in US universities come from other countries.

I am sure that qb would rather live back in the halcyon days of horse and buggy technology, but I would prefer to see science and technology advance and support for science and science education is one of the main ways it will happen.

Posted by: srw3 | May 19, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

@VBalfour:You neglect to mention the video where he said he was "spat upon" when he returned from overseas.

Jean Risley, the woman from the Connecticut Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the source of the Times quote about Blumenthal claiming to have been spat upon, says she was misquoted and that Blumenthal never made false claims to her about Vietnam. She appeared at Blumenthal's event yesterday.--http://blogs.courant.com/colin_mcenroe_to_wit/2010/05/the-flaws-in-the-nyt-blumentha.html

Posted by: srw3 | May 19, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I too served the Marine Reserves and would later sometimes say
"I served in the Marines during Vietnam" in order to impress folks.
I'm not sure if ever said "I served in Vietnam," -- but I might have, after too many drinks. I knew what I was doing and why --to leave the impression that I fought in that horrible place instead of hanging out one weekend a month -- in a training center 3 miles from my wife and job. Blumenthal knew what he said and why he said it -- and he wasn't even in a bar.

Posted by: surferwp | May 19, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the admission, surfer.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 19, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Linda McMahon uploaded the entire video for one reason: no one but Democratic hacks looking desperately for something to cling on to would think that it somehow absolves Blumenthal of lying.

Posted by: TheLastBrainLeft | May 19, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I think Blumenthal's best bet now is to say that he was kidnapped by aliens decades ago and they messed with his memory something terrible.

Posted by: FeralCat1 | May 19, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Hot Air| New Blumenthal defense: He described his service accurately in same speech where he lied
http://hotair.com/archives/2010/05/19/new-blumenthal-defense-he-described-his-service-accurately-in-same-speech-where-he-lied/

Posted by: StewartIII | May 20, 2010 5:01 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company