Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is the kind of politician who uses the powers of his office primarily as a steppingstone to something better. Today, however, he appears to be something worse than a bully. Politico’s Alexander Burns provides a handy summary of the latest development in Blumenthal’s quest to replace Christopher Dodd:
Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s Senate campaign starts the day in a state of five-alarm crisis, after the New York Times reported the longtime state official has repeatedly misled voters about his activities during the Vietnam War. Though Blumenthal has suggested that he served in the Marines overseas,
Raymond Hernandez writes: “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. Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue… At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar. 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.”
Someone on the Blumenthal campaign team apparently thinks the best defense is a good offense. Bllumenthal has released a feisty statement:
Blumenthal campaign manager Mindy Myers released a statement late Monday calling the story an “an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal’s record of service[.]”
Mary Katharine Ham noted with some prescience last month that Blumenthal is a problematic candidate. “In Connecticut,” she wrote, “Democrats are getting plenty of warning about Blumenthal while Republicans continue to gut it out in a tough primary.” Today’s New York Times story puts an exclamation point on Ham’s observation.
Blumenthal’s potential Republican opponents are former Rep. Rob Simmons and former WWE chief executive officer Linda McMahon. Simmons enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a private and spent 19 months in Vietnam where he earned two Bronze Star Medals. He would provide a good contrast with Blumenthal, although it is McMahon’s campaign that appears to have dug up the goods on Blumenthal. From a distance, Simmons seems to me a more credible candidate than McMahon, but give McMahon credit for knowing how to fight a cage match.
UPDATE: This is the ticket: Chris Dodd vouches for Blumenthal. Blumenthal must really be in trouble.
ADDENDUM: A reader writes to urge a mention of Peter Schiff, who is also running in the Republican primary and whom the reader believes is the strongest candidate under the current economic circumstances.