May 24th, 2010
08:38 AM ET
5 years ago

Blumenthal: 'I'm sorry'

'I truly regret offending anyone,' Connecticut Attorney General and Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal said in a statement issued to a newspaper Sunday night.
'I truly regret offending anyone,' Connecticut Attorney General and Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal said in a statement issued to a newspaper Sunday night.

(CNN) - Democratic Senate candidate and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has apologized for misstating his military record during the Vietnam War.

"I have made mistakes and I am sorry. I truly regret offending anyone," Blumenthal said in a statement sent to the Hartford Courant Sunday night. "I will always champion the cause of Connecticut's and our nation's veterans."

Blumenthal's comments come one week after the New York Times reported that he distorted his military service record. The article alleges that Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam and says that he never served in that war, even though the candidate has claimed he did in speeches before veterans groups and military families.

Blumenthal acknowledged last Tuesday that he has not always accurately described his military service during the Vietnam War.

"On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service and I regret that and I take full responsibility," Blumenthal said while surrounded by Vietnam veterans at a news conference in West Hartford. "But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country."

Blumenthal served in the Marine Corps Reserves during the Vietnam War, and was stationed stateside. He says he mistakenly said he served "in" Vietnam rather than "during" Vietnam in his previous speeches.

The absence of a strong apology in his remarks last Tuesday fueled criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats.

Last Friday night, at the Connecticut Democratic state party convention, Blumenthal acknowledged that "I have made mistakes," according to media reports, adding that "I regret them. And I have taken responsibility."

In the statement to the Courant, Connecticut's largest daily newspaper, Blumenthal said that "at times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves."

"I have firmly and clearly expressed regret and taken responsibility for my words," added Blumenthal, who's served as Connecticut attorney general for nearly two decades.

Notwithstanding the controversy, Blumenthal easily won the state Democratic Party's endorsement at the convention. Democratic candidate Merrick Alpert, a businessman, ended his bid for the Senate after trailing badly in the vote count for the party endorsement.

Connecticut Republicans backed Linda McMahon as their Senate nominee, endorsing the former professional wrestling executive at the state GOP convention Friday night. But McMahon, who has spent tens of millions of her own money so far on her Senate bid, will still face a challenge for the Republican nomination in Connecticut's August 10 primary. Former Rep. Rob Simmons, who came in second in the endorsement battle, said he would challenge McMahon in the primary.

Businessman Peter Schiff, another GOP candidate, failed to capture enough votes at the convention to qualify for the primary, but indicated he might launch a petition effort to get his name on the August primary ballot.

Polls conducted prior to the past week's controversy indicated that Blumenthal was ahead by a more than two-to-one margin in hypothetical general election matchups against all three GOP candidates.

The race is to succeed Sen. Chris Dodd. The five-term Democratic senator announced in January that he would not run for re-election this year. Dodd had been considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in this November's midterms.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: 2010 • Connecticut • Popular Posts • Richard Blumenthal
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    An admitted liar won the democratic party endorsement. Nothing new. An unadmitted one now sits in the White House. That is the democratic party.

    May 24, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  2. Seattle Sue

    I have seen film clips where he has said he served in Vietnam and I have seen film clips where he has said he served during the Vietnam era. So perhaps he did misspeak at times. I really don't know.

    May 24, 2010 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  3. ggg

    Sorry doesn't cut it. He knows exactly what he was saying and got caught!!!

    May 24, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  4. cspurgeon

    Thats what we need. Another liar in the congress. Well he will fit right in....

    May 24, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  5. ajax

    Like all politicans he's only sorry that the truth came out !!!

    May 24, 2010 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  6. arpadthemagyar

    The most despicable lie a man can tell is to say he was in war when he wasn't.

    May 24, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  7. FM

    Good move Blumenthal, at least you have asked forgiveness for what you did as any human being can. Not like those who lied about WMD in Iraq and will never apologise!

    May 24, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  8. Bhavin

    I do not beleive for a second that "in" instead of "during" was out of question. Sorry, for me, I would take everything you say further with a grain of salt.

    May 24, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  9. TaylorMan

    Liar, Liar, Liar! Anyone who says he "misspoke" about serving in combat anywhere is a coward. His choice of words is the vocabulary of a lying, spin-doctoring politician. He dishonors the Marine Corps and all who served in combat. Maybe you can rent the hole they found Sadaam in for the rest of your misspeaking life.

    May 24, 2010 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  10. Futon Torpedo

    Glad I'm an independent. That way no party can disappoint me. They are all equally worthless.

    May 24, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  11. 52 Pick-up

    Misstating? How about a flat out lie? If people elect this jerk, they deserve the government they get.

    May 24, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  12. Richie

    You know - You're supposed to tell the truth. Not lie and then apologize. Why do politicians not get this?

    May 24, 2010 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. Tim from Tampa

    Bull! You are only sorry that you got caught in your LIE. Resign. Go home. You are an insult to our Veterans.

    May 24, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. dennis

    He lied, lied, lied, lied, and lied again.

    Misspoken – just softer term for lie.

    May 24, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  15. A. Goodwin

    CT Needs to go back to the drawing board and find another Dem to run. This guy is tainted, and we really do not need any more "misstating" senators...this coming from a Dem!

    May 24, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  16. DAT

    He's a jerk. Using "in" rather than "during" is a huge and deliberate error. He intentionally lied, he didn't "misspeak." I would not trust anyone who lied and misled people that way. He takes away from our veterans, our heroes who did serve in Vietnam and every armed conflict. He's worthless in my book.

    May 24, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  17. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Atleast he apologized for messing up like this. For Republicans, the words, "I'm sorry" or "I apologize" is like swallowing sulfuric acid to them.

    May 24, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  18. Lib Hunter

    He could apologize all the way to the unemployment line come November. At least he will be amongst the rest of the lying Radical Liberals. Maybe they could all scream BOOOOOOOSH!!! together. LOL LOL

    May 24, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  19. Michael Danziger

    I can't stand it when Blumenthal, a man who's profession and career relies on truth and the precision of words, clearly lies, several times, about somethings as sacred as serving in a war. What's worse is his "apology" never included the words "I am sorry for lying" but did brag about "taking responsibility". Now he wants everyone to forget his lies and give him credit for taking responsibility. Well, wouldn't it be great if it worked that way, Mr. Blumenthal? Next time a defendant lies in court (granted, you weren't under oath, but you should be held to the very highest standard if you are seeking such high office), he should be given the opportunity to "take responsibility" and avoid all consequence. Do you really want to take responsibility? Then resign.

    May 24, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  20. Tom

    It's time for him to step aside. Lying and cheating, while typical of politicians, is still not a desireable trait.

    May 24, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. SuperD

    If he were a Republican, he'd have to step down. Since he's a Democrat, bold face lying (don't even attempt to say he mispoke) is par for the course. So after a few tears, all is forgiven. And the move towards socialism marches on.....

    May 24, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Liar liar pants on fire there wont be any politicians left after all the liars are gone .

    May 24, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  23. bryan

    this man has no soul and would make an execelant democrat senator

    May 24, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  24. PJinChicago

    Democrats have an excuse or an apology, in their back pocket, at all times. Republicans are demanded to resign, or resign on their own. Which is your party?

    May 24, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  25. Linda

    If you want to take issue with military lies, start with Reagan -
    his lies about prison camps during WWII, and continue with
    George Bush's lies about his military service.

    This is minimal compared to the above blantant, outright lies!

    May 24, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
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