Actually, this isn’t so much a “defense” as the left trying to change the subject by focusing on the Times’s reporting, which is the surest indication yet that this weasel is indeed in the race to stay.
Early in the speech he says: “I really want my words of thanks as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps — by the way, do we have any Marine Corps veterans here? Raise your hand.”
Later in the speech he commits the offending gaffe: “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam.”…
[T]his new vid suggests the possibility that he may not have intended to mislead at this particular gathering. The shorter version of this video initially posted by The New York Times didn’t contain this earlier part, for reasons that are unclear.
You can watch below. The key part comes right at the beginning. If he had said, “I served in the Marine Reserves in Washington during the war” and later said he’d served “in Vietnam,” that would have raised the question of whether he’d simply misspoken. As it is, there’s nothing in the first statement that would lead you to think he hadn’t been in-country; on the contrary, it reads like a textbook example of the sort of deliberate ambiguity the Times accused him of. I could tell you (truthfully) that my dad served during the Vietnam war and, without further information, most of you would assume that meant he saw combat. Not so; he was stationed in Germany. That’s the sort of confusion Blumenthal’s trying to leverage politically and, in all but a few instances, he was pretty crafty about it. But lest you doubt that he’s trying to get people to think he was in battle, ask yourself why he apparently so often felt obliged to mention that he served “during Vietnam.” He could have simply called himself a Marine vet and left it at that; by bringing up Vietnam, he’s insinuating something above and beyond the fact of his service. Remember, this is a guy who had the nerve to hold yesterday’s mea culpa press conference at a VFW post. Even when he’s telling you he didn’t serve overseas, he’s using the moral authority of vets who did as cover.
As for the Times, which is understandably sticking by its story for the same reason I just gave you, liberals want to know why they didn’t mention Blumenthal’s first statement in the clip above. The thing is, they went out of their way to note that many of his questionable statements about ‘Nam weren’t out-and-out lies so much as cannily ambiguous phrases. Quote:
Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue, as in his speech to the group in Norwalk. At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar…
[A]n 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…
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.”
That last bit is almost word for word what he said in the video that’s got the left so excited. The only way that omitting the line in the vid from the Times story would become important is if it somehow contradicted Blumenthal’s claim that he served “in Vietnam.” It doesn’t. It’s simply him playing the game he’s evidently so good at playing, just a few minutes before he dropped the ball.
Not sure what tomorrow’s defense will be, but if all else fails, they could simply refuse to cover the story. In fact, some already are.