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The wrath of Linda McMahon

Raymond Hernandez's story on how Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has repeatedly overstated his military service in the Vietnam era -- he joined the Marine Reserves but never served in combat -- is the kind of political meteorite that alters everything in an election that was seen as safe for the Democrats. GOP strategist Kevin Rennie gives the credit to Linda McMahon, the multimillionaire co-founder of World Wrestling Entertainment, whose campaign had been covered as a novelty since Blumenthal got in the race and led her 2-1 in the polls. Rennie salutes what McMahon has done, up to and including the video of Blumenthal talking to veterans in Norwalk, Conn., that really makes it ugly.

The Blumenthal Bombshell comes at the end of more than 2 months of deep, persistent research by Republican Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign. It gave the explosive Norwalk video recording to The Times. This is what comes of $16 million, a crack opposition research operation and an opponent who, in the words of the president Blumenthal worked for on a draft deferment, who gave them the sword.

Up to now, even though McMahon has led in the polls, this was seen as a fairly hopeless campaign -- it was a surprise that former Congressman Rob Simmons and McMahon stayed in the race for the right to be beaten by Blumenthal, when they'd entered it to beat the unpopular Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Last night, Republican strategists were still talking up Simmons, who actually is a veteran. But McMahon's campaign gets a burst of credibility by damaging the previously unsinkable Blumenthal.

UPDATE: Interestingly, McMahon's campaign has pulled down a link taking credit for the story, although you can see the original page title -- "http://www.linda2010.com/news/2010/05/in-case-you-missed-it-mcmahon-strikes-blumenthal-in-nyt-article/."

By David Weigel  |  May 18, 2010; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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