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Linda McMahon campaign accidentally softens the blow of Blumenthal story

I haven't gone out of my way to defend Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal over his over-statement of his service during the Vietnam era. But I have been fascinated at how Linda McMahon, one of Blumenthal's GOP rivals, has softened the blow against him. First her campaign took credit for the hit, then it stopped taking credit, and now, via the AP, it is responsible for posting a full version of the 2008 speech at the heart of the controversy which complicates the attack.

In the full version, below the jump, Blumenthal actually clarifies that he didn't go to Vietnam. "I really want to add my words of thanks as someone who served in the military, during the Vietnam era, in the Marine Corps," says Blumenthal as he starts the speech. It's only later that he makes the "in Vietnam" conflation that was posted by the New York Times. (Also, while the Times denies that the McMahon campaign fed the story, it's intriguing that the clip posted by the newspaper is identically edited to the short version posted by McMahon.)

This really is a textbook example of how not to execute an attack, unless the McMahon campaign has a doubly-clever strategy of keeping us talking about it or something.

By David Weigel  |  May 19, 2010; 2:18 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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