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Richard Blumenthal's crack-up in Connecticut

Today's a big day. There are special elections and primaries in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Arkansas. And you can get the low down on what to focus on and what certain results might mean in The Post, the New York Times and Politico.

But the big political news right now is the devastating story in the New York Times on how Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) has misrepresented his Vietnam War service for years. Reporter Raymond Hernandez begins the story by quoting Blumenthal at a "ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas."

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it -- Afghanistan or Iraq -- we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

One problem with that recollection: Blumenthal never set foot in Vietnam. Not only that, according to the Times, he got five deferments that made it possible. He did end up in the Marine reserve here in Washington in 1970. Conducting drills and repairing campgrounds were among Blumenthal's tough duties.

This is a major blow to Democrats.

When Sen. Chris Dodd (D) announced his retirement earlier this year, barely a minute elapsed before Blumenthal's name was uttered as Dodd's successor. He is revered in the Nutmeg State. So it was only natural that all eyes turned instantly and longingly to Blumenthal, who is strongly favored to win. If you want to get a sense of how devastating this news is to the people of Connecticut read Joshua Green's early morning post for The Atlantic.

Blumenthal's campaign is pushing back hard against the Times story. And a news conference with veterans is set for today. I'm eager to hear how he explains years of misstatements on his Vietnam War-era service (which led to years of uncorrected reporting of said service). But I'm also eager to hear the reaction of Connecticut voters and Josh Green. If Blumenthal can win back their trust, he just might be able to survive today's blow come November.

By Jonathan Capehart  | May 18, 2010; 7:50 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Mister Blumenthal also said what was true; He is a "Vietnam ERA Vet" as are everyone who served during that time period. Many people and the News Media wrongly assume after hearing that statement that the speaker is a Vietnam Veteran; Shame on them.

Protesters tagged everyone they saw in uniform as being a baby killers etc. whether they had been to Vietnam or not.

Posted by: ddoiron1 | May 18, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Richard Blumenthal ought to go down to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC and hang his head in shame before the names of the 58,000 servicemen who died in Vietnam. No matter what weasel words he uses to explain his cowardly deception he will always be remembered as a just another guy who lied about his alleged service in Vietnam. I hope the people of Connecticut terminate his political career if he doesn't do so himself.

Posted by: BigSiberian | May 18, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse


“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” = "Vietnam ERA Vet". Just so we're clear moving forward one can complete change a quote to shame others that call someone out for obvious BSing. super. super duper.

Posted by: permagrin | May 18, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

This is no different than John McCain claiming he was a 'war hero' during the 2008 election.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 18, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Richard Blumenthal sure made Laura Ingraham's day. On her 9:00am show today all she could do was crow about Blumenthal's statement on his Vietnam service and the lack of media scrutiny on his background.

I was a Vietnam Era Veteran who did not serve in Nam and there is no way I could represent that service as being in Nam unless I was intentionally lying.

Posted by: NewEra | May 18, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow, a politician who spins and twists words. What is this world coming to??!?!?

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | May 18, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I have friends who served in Vietnam and friends who are Vietnam Vets and I have never ever heard them confuse whether they served in Vietnam or stateside.

Shame on Blumenthal.

Posted by: rlj1 | May 18, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I have friends who served in Vietnam and friends who are Vietnam "Era" Vets and I have never ever heard them confuse whether they served in Vietnam or stateside.

Shame on Blumenthal.

Posted by: rlj1 | May 18, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

This is like something you expect from a homeless guy trying to scrounge up extra drinking money.

Posted by: Gover | May 18, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

While many served during the Vietnam era, those that went to Vietnam are given special affection and honor, by those of us that didn't go overseas to Vietnam. Those that fought there are entitled to our respect. To have claimed to have served there, when you had not is wrong and a terrible lie. It should never be tolerated and it is a crime against those that did serve in Vietnam. Honor is given to those that earn it. It can not be stolen.

Posted by: richard36 | May 18, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So a liberal lied about his war service ?

Why is this a big deal ?

Have we forgotten the decorated war hero John Kerry who may have been injured in combat or tripping off his swift boat ? (accounts vary) The same war hero who actually or symbolically (not sure) tossed his medal of valor over the fence during an anti-war protest ?

A liberal actually proud of his service is a rarity. A liberal who doesn't lie ? Impossible.

Posted by: pvilso24 | May 18, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

This is like something you expect from a homeless guy trying to scrounge up extra drinking money.

Posted by: Gover
************************

Great observation; one corollary of which is.....homeless people are less "different" than the non-homeless than we sometimes like to believe....

Posted by: abqcleve | May 18, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Connecticut Democrats just need to move this liar out of the race as soon as possible and get another decent candidate to mop the floor with whichever clown the Republicans nominate.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 18, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I’ve been informed, on condition of anonymity (because it came from an unreliable lib) that Blumenthal is now under consideration to be Obama’s next Czar of Ethical Reform.
Only in a lib rag like the New York Times would you find a headline like this: “Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History”.

Posted by: jahoby | May 18, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Rob Simmons is the best candidate for the Senate from Connecticut. Not only did he do his time in Vietnam, he started in the US Army as a cook. I worked with him in Vietnam and know he is very intelligent and has excellent integrity and character.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | May 18, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

This a GREAT!!! This guy should quit the race. The only reason he was a viable candidate was becuase the MEDIA for some reason love him. I wonder why?? Well, I do know wht.

Posted by: domingo6832 | May 18, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Mister Blumenthal also said what was true; He is a "Vietnam ERA Vet" as are everyone who served during that time period. Many people and the News Media wrongly assume after hearing that statement that the speaker is a Vietnam Veteran; Shame on them."
Posted by: ddoiron1 | May 18, 2010 9:17 AM

How is that the same as:

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam...”??? Nice try (sort of...)

Posted by: jahoby | May 18, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@pvilso24 - Why is this a liberal/conservative issue? If this guy lied as it seems likely he did, it is a big deal and he is a scumbag no matter what political stripe. (It's not like the Repubs have been so truthy lately: Bush, Sanford, Ensign, Vitter, Souder ...)

Posted by: stantheman1 | May 18, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Postnote to ddoiron1: Blumenthal is not even a Vet - he was in the reserves (not the same). Shame on YOU!

Posted by: jahoby | May 18, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@pvilso24 - Why is this a liberal/conservative issue? If this guy lied as it seems likely he did, it is a big deal and he is a scumbag no matter what political stripe. (It's not like the Repubs have been so truthy lately: Bush, Sanford, Ensign, Vitter, Souder ...)

Posted by: stantheman1 | May 18, 2010 1:26 PM

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Typical: "This shouldn't be a liberal / conservative issue - but while I'm at it..."

Posted by: jahoby | May 18, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Blumenthal drags out a few phony soldiers from central casting that are yelling that it is okay that he lied about being in Vietnam?

Dude. You are ridiculous!

Posted by: Cornell1984 | May 18, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

so he lied, we all lie.Why the big deal. If elected he will be doing much of the same for many years to come. His problem is he got caught. Plus we all know this is Bush and the republicans fault. Blum would never have lied if not for those evil publicans. Blum will be elected to take Dodds place and Conn will have another liar
and career politician to add to its credit. After all, the biggest sucker are Conn voters who keep electing this garbage

Posted by: snapplecat07 | May 18, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Remember the movie "Patton"?

Remember the part where Patton says he was fighting the Carthaginians, etc, in 'another lifetime'?

Well, maybe this guy was reincarnated from other guys who did serve. Maybe his soul was transported from some parallel universe where he did serve in vietnam.

I know that, myself, I've been calling 'shenanigans' on this political circus so long (a la Southpark) that it certainly feels like I've been reincarnated in some kind of politician-sleezebags-are-all-liars groundhog day of some kind.

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | May 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Shame on the democrap party and elites making excuses for Blumenthal -- they deserve to be ousted as well.

Look what happened when they (Obama & the machine of the democrap party elites & insiders) all got behind lyin' Lieberman instead of the people's choice: Ned Lamont who would have been there for health care etc instead of the self serving liar Lieberscum.

CT and the USA has been paying for it ever since.

Blumenthal ought to be totally and completely ashamed but his pathetic press conference proved he has no shame and is unwilling to own up to his lies --"misplaced words" my foot.

I'm a progressive (former dem, now independent) and I'm completely disgusted by his lies and now by his dodges and unwillingness to say he lied and explain why he lied. (to further his political career by bamboozling the citizens, of course).

My prediction: Blumenthal is going down -- and deserves to. He should drop out of the race NOW to allow a dem with credibility and honor to take the reins.

His arrogance, self-serving lies, elitism, privilege and hubris are part of the reasons that people in this country are furious with ALL elected officials. And in his case, it was absolutely unnecessary, simply proof of hubris and arrogance -- he is a LIAR and if he lied about this, what else?

Time for the liar to drop out -- time to get rid of both Lying Lieberscum and Lyin Blumenthal !

voters take back the power


Where the hell is Ned Lamont?

Both the democrap and rethuglicon parties are mainly in it for enriching themselves and their corporate masters and cronies-- they prove it every day.

PS: I hope that Specter goes down in flames too. time to take back our govt from the out of touch self-serving self-enriching insiders.

I am sick of it and everyone else I know is too.

Posted by: demsRwimps | May 18, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

After combat-avoider George W. Bush and his draft-dodging vice president won re-election over a Democratic ticket headed by a legitimate Vietnam war hero, John Kerry, why should this even a campaign issue?

Posted by: Eureka1 | May 18, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

After combat-avoider George W. Bush and his draft-dodging vice president won re-election over a Democratic ticket headed by a legitimate Vietnam war hero, John Kerry, why should this even be a campaign issue?

Posted by: Eureka1 | May 18, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh! I'm so offended! How can I overreact as much as possible! Oh gosh! Let's bring up the Vietnam Memorial as if that has any relevance! Let's freak out! I mean, good lord.

Posted by: Urnesto | May 18, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone actually say "I'm a war hero" of is that left up to others? I don't remember any vet claiming to be a hero, just that they were a vet. They let others decide if they were heros or not.

Posted by: ahashburn | May 18, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

After combat-avoider George W. Bush and his draft-dodging vice president won re-election over a Democratic ticket headed by a legitimate Vietnam war hero, John Kerry, why should this even be a campaign issue?

Posted by: Eureka1 | May 18, 2010 3:25 PM

==========================================

Blumenthal made it an issue by shooting his mouth off and trying to score political points. I don't recall President Bush ever saying he was a Vietnam vet.

Posted by: bbface21 | May 18, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I heard that his recanting of his remarks was followed by the expalanation, "I misspoke".

No you didn't. You LIED.

That was a bonafide lie to make you seem what you are not - it's called misrepresentation.

Where do these public servants come from? The sewers?

Are they all ex-carnival workers?

or is it okay now to lie as a natural-born right?

Posted by: pgibson1 | May 18, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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