Blumenthal Responds to Vietnam Allegations

By Marc Ambinder

Connecticut Attorney General Dick Blumenthal is denying a New York Times report that he routinely lied about his service in Vietnam.

"The New York Times story is an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal's record of service," Blumenthal's campaign manager, Mindy Myers, said in a statement.

"Unlike many of his peers, Dick Blumenthal voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Parris Island, SC and six years in the reserves. He received no special treatment from anyone."

Previewing a campaign event tomorrow, Myers wrote that "Dick has a long record of standing up for veterans. Tomorrow, veterans will be standing up with Dick."

Blumenthal will hold a news conference tomorrow. He will be flanked by veterans.

His opponents have pounced on the report, which calls "striking" 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."

Linda McMahon, a Republican, is claiming that her campaign's research team provided the New York Times with the tip that led to the story.

Blumenthal is -- or was -- the odds-on favorite to win Chris Dodd's seat in Connecticut. This is the type of story that Blumenthal can close off tomorrow; if he doesn't, it likely drags him down significantly.

The facts are not unambiguous. The best the Times has is statements where Blumenthal talked about "returning" or "getting back" from Vietnam, but there are plenty of instances where he acknowledges that he never served overseas. That said, he never seemed to correct the impression that he did serve overseas.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/05/blumenthal-responds-to-vietnam-allegations/56867/