by desmoinesdem, Mon May 17, 2010 at 10:05:46 PM EDT
Since Senator Chris Dodd announced that he would not seek re-election, it has seemed that Democrats no longer had to worry about defending our U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has comfortably led every Republican opponent in every poll.
That was then, this is now:
“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.”
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records. [...]
But what is striking about Mr. Blumenthal’s record is the contrast between the many steps he took that allowed him to avoid Vietnam, and the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans’ ceremonies or other patriotic events. [...]
In an interview on Monday, the attorney general said that he had misspoken about his service during the Norwalk event and might have misspoken on other occasions. “My intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward, out of respect to the veterans who served in Vietnam,” he said. [...]
But the way he speaks about his military service has led to confusion and frequent mischaracterizations of his biography in his home state newspapers. In at least eight newspaper articles published in Connecticut from 2003 to 2009, he is described as having served in Vietnam. [...]
And the idea that he served in Vietnam has become such an accepted part of his public biography that when a national outlet, Slate magazine, produced a profile of Mr. Blumenthal in 2006, it said he had “enlisted in the Marines rather than duck the Vietnam draft.”
It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes.
I don't get it. By many accounts, Blumenthal has been planning to run for Senate for a long time. Why would he use misleading language about his wartime service and never correct reports that described him as a Vietnam veteran?
At least the New York Times broke this story when there is still time to nominate a different Democrat.
UPDATE: Here are competing videos: Republican candidate Linda McMahon is pushing one of Blumenthal claiming in 2008 that we've learned things "since the days that I served in Vietnam." Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is pushing this video from this year, in which Blumenthal clearly says he did not serve in Vietnam.