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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

VIDEO- Democratic Senate Hopeful, Richard Blumenthal Lies About Military Record

40 seconds into the 59 second video above, he makes the statement... clearly.

The New York Times exposes Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut who is running for a Senate seat, as having lied and misrepresented his military record by implying in some cases and outright stating in others that he has served in Vietnam... when he had not.

Specific case in point they highlight was a statement in 2008 (shown above) where Blumenthal said "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam."

Other times he simply implied he served in Vietnam and the Times lists multiple published articles about him which stated he served there without his ever correcting that mistake.

New York Times:

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.

The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.

In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.

Blumenthal denies he lied, claiming he "mispoke" and will be holding a news conference, supposedly flanked by Veterans, to address this issue.

Blumenthal was the odds on favorite to take the Senate seat that will be vacated by Chris Dodd and in the next few weeks we will see if he can weather this storm the New York Times has broke or weather his deliberate misleading will be his downfall.

There is no doubt he fights for Veterans but the deliberate attempt to misrepresent his service record won't be ignored and in a year where Democrats are suffering massive potential losses in the House and are fighting hard to hold on to every seat they possibly can in the Senate, a breaking story like this from the New York Times, is disastrous.

The Republican challengers for the Connecticut Senate seat are Linda McMahon, who along with her husband, Vince, founded the World Wrestling Federation, and Rob Simmons, a Vietnam combat veteran.

[Update] Left leaning FiveThirtyEight recommends Democrats choose another candidate to replace Blumenthal.

Many politicians have lost their jobs for less. One can understand the human instinct to lie about an affair, or about some long-ago indiscretion like drug use. They're essentially personal matters that arguably deserve no place in the political discourse to begin with. But military service is the very opposite: a public act, involving a gift of sacrifice for the common good.

Even if you aren't offended by Blumenthal's actions, this is an extremely strange thing to lie about. It's a lie that any enterprising reporter with a Freedom of Information Request could have uncovered, as Hernandez eventually did (why it took the rest of media so long is a good question). As with John Edwards' affair, it is a lie that displays a stunning disregard for the trust that Democrats were about to place in Blumenthal by making him their nominee. It is a lie that may even call into question the mental state of the candidate, as it carries no obvious tactical benefit. Moreover, it may be part of a pattern: the Times also reports "on a less serious matter" that Blumenthal may have also misled reporters about being the captain of Harvard's swim team (in fact, he wasn't on the team at all.)

Perhaps there's more to the story, but Blumenthal's team hasn't really denied the story so much as tried to spin it (and they certainly haven't tried to apologize). And the non-sequitur, blame-shifting response from the DSCC ("Its no surprise Republicans would want to smear Dick Blumenthal, considering all of the debauchery at [WWE] under Linda McMahon's watch") points to just how difficult it might be to dig out from.

[Update] Preliminary reports say Blumenthal will stay in the race.

[Update #2] Watching Blumenthal's press conference where he is claiming he "misspoke" on "some" occasions and trying to act like some injured party for being called a liar when he did, in fact, lie.

Sometimes he spoke the truth about his service, other times he claimed to have served in Vietnam..... those aren't mistakes.. those are intentional words, clearly stated.

Questions from reporters bring a few choice answers from Blumenthal.

He was "unaware" of people taking note of his "misstatements".

He isn't responsible for correcting articles that claimed he served in Vietnam, he is only responsible for his own "misstatements"

"I regret that I misspoke and I take full responsibility"

Blah,blah, blah, blah.

He lied and he got busted and now he wants to pretend that distorting his record, on multiple occasions was simply a mistake in wording.