Video: Blumenthal’s “outrageous distortion”; Update: Staying in

posted at 8:48 am on May 18, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

As Allahpundit noted, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has decided to declare himself outraged over the New York Times report that accuses him of falsely claiming on a number of occasions that he served in Vietnam.  He told the Huffington Post that the story is an “outrageous distortion,” and that Blumenthal had “always tried to make it clear that his Marine Reserve service never took him overseas.”  Try squaring that for a moment with this March 2008 video, in which Blumenthal laments the treatment of returning soldiers from that war:

In fact, we are failing many of our veterans again.  We are failing them just as we did after the Vietnam War, just as we did our World War II and Korean [sic] veterans.  This nation has a way of sending young men and women to war, and then forgetting them when they come home.  And that is unforgivable.  And I know Congressmen like Chris Shays are working hard to change that situation.   We have learned something very important since the days I served in Vietnam, 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.

Not only does that show Blumenthal’s response to be pure bunk, it’s actually worse than it seems at first.  Not only was Blumenthal taking credit for serving in Vietnam falsely, he was framing it in a way to make himself part of the victim class.  Blumenthal’s argument in this passage was to remind everyone that America treated its returning veterans from Vietnam badly (and then oddly included WWII and Korean War vets) — and that he himself was part of that group.

It’s not the first time he’s done that, either, as the Times’ Raymond Hernandez reported yesterday:

But an examination of his remarks at the ceremonies shows that he does not volunteer that his service never took him overseas. And he describes the hostile reaction directed at veterans coming back from Vietnam, intimating that he was among them.

In 2003, he addressed a rally in Bridgeport, where about 100 military families gathered to express support for American troops overseas. “When we returned, we saw nothing like this,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “Let us do better by this generation of men and women.”

At a 2008 ceremony in front of the Veterans War Memorial Building in Shelton, he praised the audience for paying tribute to troops fighting abroad, noting that America had not always done so.

“I served during the Vietnam era,” he said. “I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse.”

It’s one kind of dishonest to burnish one’s military record with claims of battles never fought.  Falsely claiming victimhood as a consequence of those lies is something else entirely, and much more creepy than the former.   Blumenthal plans on appearing later today with veterans supporting his campaign.  I’d guess that to be a rapidly-declining group, especially as this video and other reports make the rounds.

One question remains: how did Blumenthal’s record get out?  Republican contender for the nomination Linda McMahon claimed last night to have discovered Blumenthal’s lies:

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s campaign for the United States Senate has been holed below the waterline by a devastating New York Times expose of Blumenthal’s false claims to have served in Vietnam.  The piece, fed to the paper by the Linda McMahon Senate campaign, is accompanied by a chilling 2008 video of Blumenthal blithely making the false claim.  The “brilliant” Blumenthal provides a stunningly inadequate response, with the universal weasel word “misspoken” appearing in the piece.  It’s followed by a non-sequitur quote: “’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.”

Somewhere, Tim Russert is smirking.  In 1981, Russert was working for New York Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was facing a challenge from rising freshman Republican Congressman Bruce Caputo.  Caputo had made claims of army service during the Vietnam War that were nearly as false as Blumenthal’s.  He was forced to withdraw from the race with dispatch.

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.

Panicked Connecticut Democrats will crash cellphone networks between tonight and Friday trying to decide if they can jettison Blumenthal and have a chance to hold the Democratic seat in November.

The Times may get some questions over this claim.  Did they take a story fed to them by a campaign, or did they independently discover Blumenthal’s fabrications?  Did they use McMahon’s tip and conduct their own investigation?  Or did McMahon’s campaign actually find this themselves, as they claim?  Ironically, the damage done to Blumenthal makes Rob Simmons — a highly decorated actual Vietnam veteran — the biggest beneficiary of this bombshell.  It will highlight his military service and make him all the more desirable in the aftermath of the scandal.

The Democrats have a very short period of time to find a new candidate, if Blumenthal does the expected and retires from politics.  Looking at the calendar, it appears that Democrats only have until May 25th — a week from now — to formally endorse their candidate for Senate, and June 8th to certify the nomination.  The problem for Democrats is that they don’t have any other statewide constitutional officeholders that can quickly fill Blumenthal’s shoes.  The highest-profile Democratic officeholders in Connecticut are in Congress, and those aren’t exactly riding a wave of popularity.  If Democrats try to run a sitting House member in this election cycle, they can kiss the seat goodbye.

This means that a GOP takeover of the Senate suddenly becomes possible again, if still unlikely.  It’s the tenth Democratic seat that becomes legitimately in play.  If Democrats can’t find a candidate in the next few hours, they may wind up losing both chambers of Congress.

Update: According to the Wall Street Journal, Blumenthal’s staying in (via National Review’s Greg Pollowitz and Allahpundit).  That’s as of 9:15 am ET.  I doubt that will last, however.  Blumenthal won’t have a prayer of winning a statewide election after lying about war service, not even in a liberal state like Connecticut.  The Democrats will push him out of the race unless he comes up with a really good cover story for his serial lies about his war record.  I don’t think PTSD will work, either.


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Here in Conn., Blumenthal has always had great name recognition and good reviews from all sides. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out for him. People here aren’t very forgiving of this kind of lie…or any lie, just ask former gov. Roland.

JetBoy on May 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Exactly…Connecticut has some recent history with politicians who have turned out to be egregious liars. And Blumenthal’s just the kind of cursaidng holier-than-thou AG who can least afford to get caught lying like this. People might forgiver a garden-variety pol for something like faking a military service record, but it’s doubtful they will forgive a sanctimonious prick like Blumenthal. It’s a very similar situation to the one Eliot Spitzer was in. When your whole political persona is one of a moralizing crusader, you had better be telling the truth about yourself.

rockmom on May 18, 2010 at 11:01 AM

“Blumenthal also claims he served as the Captain of the Harvard swim team, despite records at the college showing that he was never on the team.”

Lie about the Military all you want, liberals are OK with that, but how DARE he besmirch Haw-vawd.

mrt721 on May 18, 2010 at 10:58 AM

They’ll berate him by talking about how he has the loutish manners of a Yalie.

teke184 on May 18, 2010 at 11:04 AM

…oddly included WWII and Korean War vets…

I’ll say it’s odd. WW II servicemen & women were adored during the war, given a hero’s welcome when they returned, and are still nearly unanimously revered today — all deservedly. Even libs call it “The Greatest Generation”. This Blumenthal dude is off his rocker, or at the very least seriously uniformed about history.

KS Rex on May 18, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has decided to declare himself outraged over the New York Times report that he was a tickle fighta when he served in Vietnam.

Hopefully he’ll continue his noble fight for the people of Connecticut. Godspeed.

ontherocks on May 18, 2010 at 11:10 AM

This guy is Spitzer’s twin. I’ll bet he’s been lying about about a bunch of things.

Lying is the liberal MO, Repub too.

lilium on May 18, 2010 at 11:18 AM

If the McMahon campaign discovered this, I wish they would have held off until agter the Primary election so that the Dems would have no choice but to stick with Blumenthal.

mydh12 on May 18, 2010 at 11:24 AM

He attended hawvud. The leftist regime puppy mill. The inferior class doesn’t understand things they claim.

It is all up to him whether he stays or bails. He is behaving like an administration insider.

seven on May 18, 2010 at 11:27 AM

As I recall from an earlier controversy involving a woman claiming to be a gulf war veteran, one doesn’t need to be deployed in theater to claim to have served in the war. It suffices to be on active duty during the time period.

year_of_the_dingo on May 18, 2010 at 11:29 AM

I really think Harvard should consider a recall like Toyota did. The puppy mill has engineered too many birth defective leftist lap dogs.

seven on May 18, 2010 at 11:30 AM

“Blumenthal also claims he served as the Captain of the Harvard swim team, despite records at the college showing that he was never on the team.”

Was he also at the Battle of Thermopylae with the 300?

theCork on May 18, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Update: According to the Wall Street Journal, Blumenthal’s staying in (via National Review’s Greg Pollowitz and Allahpundit). That’s as of 9:15 am ET. I doubt that will last, however. Blumenthal won’t have a prayer of winning a statewide election after lying about war service, not even in a liberal state like Connecticut. The Democrats will push him out of the race unless he comes up with a really good cover story for his serial lies about his war record. I don’t think PTSD will work, either.

I’m pretty sure John Kerry was caught lying in 2004 and the entire Democratic Party continued to support him.

It is just as likely they will shoot the messenger and make it seem as though he is being held to an impossibly high standard of conduct…

That is the Democrat way.

petunia on May 18, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Here in Conn., Blumenthal has always had great name recognition and good reviews from all sides. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out for him. People here aren’t very forgiving of this kind of lie…or any lie, just ask former gov. Roland.

JetBoy on May 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM

I’m also in CT, and I’m NOT sure that lying about military service will be held against Blumenthal very badly. True, former Governor Rowland was forced to resign for misusing $9K of State money for repairs to his personal house, but he was a REPUBLICAN. People in CT went after Dodd harshly after it was found out that he got a sweetheart mortgage deal from a bank he tried to protect during the crisis in 2008.

But how much does military service, or lying about it, mean to Nutmeggers? I’ve heard Catholic priests in this state openly advocate civil disobedience in protest of the Iraq war FROM THE PULPIT, so that Blumenthal might pick up more peacenik votes than he loses from pro-military voters. We should also remember that the “cut-and-run” candidate Ned Lamont won the Democrat primary in 2006 against three-term incumbent (and Iraq hawk) Joe Lieberman, who had to run as an Independent to retain his seat with 50% of the vote in a three-way race, with lots of Republican support.

On the flipside, Blumenthal has (had?) a reputation as an “honest” liberal, and getting caught in a lie as Attorney General could rub many Nutmeggers the wrong way.

If McMahon’s camp fed this to the Times, they are idiots

I agree with this, for a different reason. I’ve been getting lots of mailings from the Linda McMahon campaign portraying former 3-term Rep. Rob Simmons as a RINO, “voting with Pelosi 58% of the time”, and portraying herself as the “true conservative”. But Simmons did staunchly defend keeping the submarine base in Groton (in his Eastern CT district) open, and McMahon attacking Blumenthal’s lying about his military record plays to Simmons’ strength, since Linda McMahon has no military record whatsoever.

While I’m glad to see Blumenthal take a bloomin’ fall at the hands of the New York Slimes (irony of ironies), this might not be fatal for him in CT, as it probably would be in a red or purple state. But it will make life more difficult for him.

Steve Z on May 18, 2010 at 11:32 AM

I don’t think PTSD will work, either.

Why not? The MSM was shamelessly pushing that very same excuse for that Muslim loon who shot and killed over a dozen people at Ft. Hood, and most of them didn’t even bother to inform their readers/viewers that the guy had never served a single day in a combat zone. The Muslim shooter apparently got freaked out by hearing other people talk about their combat experiences — sort of PTSD-by-proxy.

Why can’t the same story work for Blumenthal too? He didn’t actually serve in Vietnam, but he heard other people talk about it, and it really, really upset him . . . and that’s why he made up lies about being in Vietnam and being captain of the Harvard swim team.

AZCoyote on May 18, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Exactly…Connecticut has some recent history with politicians who have turned out to be egregious liars. And Blumenthal’s just the kind of cursaidng holier-than-thou AG who can least afford to get caught lying like this. People might forgiver a garden-variety pol for something like faking a military service record, but it’s doubtful they will forgive a sanctimonious prick like Blumenthal. It’s a very similar situation to the one Eliot Spitzer was in. When your whole political persona is one of a moralizing crusader, you had better be telling the truth about yourself.

rockmom on May 18, 2010 at 11:01 AM

I wonder what effect this might have on Blumenthal’s prosecution of Hartford mayor Eddie Perez for corruption?
Who knows, maybe Perez might have tipped off the Times!

Steve Z on May 18, 2010 at 11:37 AM

I think we should start a grass-roots campaign to keep Blumenthal in! :)

WannabeAnglican on May 18, 2010 at 11:40 AM

The Democrats will push him out of the race unless he comes up with a really good cover story for his serial lies about his war record. I don’t think PTSD will work, either.

He should probably start shouting “Allahu akbar!” right about now.

J.E. Dyer on May 18, 2010 at 11:42 AM

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

theCork on May 18, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Blumenthal also claims he served as the Captain of the Harvard swim team, despite records at the college showing that he was never on the team.

Later today, he will appear at a press conference along with the surviving members of that Harvard swim team, who will swear that Blumenthal was Commodore of the swim team, which is even better than Captain.

Emperor Norton on May 18, 2010 at 11:50 AM

The media is going to ignore this and concentrate on Souder.
They can say they covered it, and pretend its a non-story while focusing on their favorite meme “Hypocritical Republicans run amok”.

Iblis on May 18, 2010 at 11:50 AM

A storm comes to the old forest.

Trees are rotten to the core.

They have sown the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind.

ajacksonian on May 18, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Here in Conn., Blumenthal has always had great name recognition and good reviews from all sides. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out for him. People here aren’t very forgiving of this kind of lie…or any lie, just ask former gov. Roland.

JetBoy on May 18, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Jetboy, I had no idea you were the same state as me. Thing is, given enough time and spinning, i still think this guy could keep it close. Maybe you just have more faith in our state but I could easily see Blumenthal turning this around by framing himself as a victim, apoligizing and then race baiting and demagoguing as many political issues as he can to get the diehard partisan drones to vote for him.

Daemonocracy on May 18, 2010 at 12:00 PM

apoligizing = apologizing*

Daemonocracy on May 18, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Blumenthal won’t have a prayer of winning a statewide election after lying about war service, not even in a liberal state like Connecticut.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feiler_Faster_Thesis

ninjapirate on May 18, 2010 at 12:02 PM

They (Dems) will have all kinds of colored people flanking Blumenthal saying ‘As CT AG, he done good for ….(insert your victim group here)’

Sir Napsalot on May 18, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Cool! Now I can start telling stories about when I served in the First Gulf War. Well…I was near the First Gulf War and serving in the Army at the time. Well…I was at Ft. Lewis Washington. But I remember the sand, so much sand [at American Lake...great fishing BTW]…

I can also being spinning tales about my time in Korea [1991]. The oppressive humidity. Doing battle with well-trained [in high-pressure sales] Koreans. The long, sleepless night [playing Pinochle and fixing radios].

29Victor on May 18, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Blumenthal also claims he served as the Captain of the Harvard swim team, despite records at the college showing that he was never on the team.

Later today, he will appear at a press conference along with the surviving members of that Harvard swim team, who will swear that Blumenthal was Commodore of the swim team, which is even better than Captain.

Emperor Norton on May 18, 2010 at 11:50 AM

It’s been a top secret until just recently that the whole freakin’ team was swimming behind enemy lines.
When the courageous AG breaks out the Hahvahd speedos with the bullet holes, everything will become instantly clear. He wasn’t able to take full credit for his heroics until this story was leaked.

He’ll probably get elected unanimously.

ontherocks on May 18, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Hypocrisy they name be Democrat.

Slowburn on May 18, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Blumenthal won’t have a prayer of winning a statewide election after lying about war service, not even in a liberal state like Connecticut.

Not even a prayer? What do you know for certain about the integrity of Connecticut voters that I never even heard rumors of?

MB4 on May 18, 2010 at 12:39 PM

In related news:

Wrestling impresario Linda McMahon announced Monday that former U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Connor is backing her for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, a rival for the GOP Senate nod, announced the head of the Republican Party in North Branford had switched his endorsement from McMahon to him.

Today, leaders of several conservative groups associated with the tea party movement are scheduled to endorse Peter Schiff, the third Republican running for the open Senate seat.

McMahon and Simmons are obviously the establishment picks. I also understand Rahmbo is very fond of Linda.

Peter Schiff for Senate. He ain’t a big government establishment hack, and he ain’t gonna lie!

Rae on May 18, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Blumenthal won’t have a prayer of winning a statewide election after lying about war service, not even in a liberal state like Connecticut.

CT has a ton of major defense contractors. And a Service Academy (US Coast Guard), in New London.

Del Dolemonte on May 18, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Stick a fork in his candidacy… he’s done.

WordsMatter on May 18, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I haven’t read all the comments so if this has been said already, I apologize.

If Conn. requires its attorney general to be a licensed attorney, then it is quite likely that Blumenthal’s bar license is in serious jeopardy. He could be disbarred for committing an act of moral turpitude.

Don’t laugh. Lying by an attorney is a serious offense of bar ethics rules. If the lie is told outside of the legal arena, it’s an offense against the integrity of the bar. If it’s told to gain a legal advantage when representing a client, bar associations almost always yank the miscreant’s license for at least two years. Disbarment is not rare, depending on how much noteriety has resulted.

The Conn. bar association appears to be sleeping on the job.

platypus on May 18, 2010 at 1:00 PM

One can never tell, though, if he will lose if he stays in the race since Lefty Senator Harkin, who lied about his military record, still serves in congress and ran for president. He is now in his 5th term as senator after 10 years as a Rep, a record for Iowa; he said he was a combat pilot with kills, but just ferried fighter aircraft from Japan. I thought the people of Iowa, where I once lived for a short period of time, were better than that; but I figured wrong I guess.

amr on May 18, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Just shows you the New England voters never learned the lesson “Trust But Verify”.

NE voters are so sophisticated, they are gullible.

Sir Napsalot on May 18, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Would love to see the following ad in CT, if Blummie still as the Dem candidate.

(Borrowing the 3 sec scene from Dale Peterson’s commercial)
Showing Peterson’s horse WTF face, with voice over guy: “What kind of dummies vote in this kind of crooks?”

Better yet, showing a donkey’s face, and change the message to “dummies ass”

Sir Napsalot on May 18, 2010 at 1:58 PM

Why does the skin on his face look like it was used for toilet paper?

BL@KBIRD on May 18, 2010 at 2:48 PM

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