October 4th, 2010
02:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Vietnam controversy resurfaces in Connecticut

(CNN) - Republican Linda McMahon is trying to seize the offensive in the hotly contested Connecticut Senate race, unveiling a new ad slamming Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal over distortions in his Vietnam service record.

The new ad, which will air statewide, made its on-line debut only hours before the two candidates are scheduled square off in their first debate. It raises questions about Blumenthal's credibility as a politician.

"Would you lie about serving in a war?" the narrator asks. "Dick Blumenthal did, again and again. ... If he lied about Vietnam, what else is he lying about?"

The ad shows Blumenthal in Norwalk, Connecticut, in 2008 saying, "we have learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam."

It also displays a clip of him in Bridgeport in 2003, telling a crowd, "when we returned (from Vietnam), we saw nothing of this gratitude."

In May, the New York Times reported that Blumenthal had repeatedly distorted his military service record. A Times article alleged that Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam and said that he never served in that war, even though Blumenthal claimed he did in speeches before veterans groups and military families.

A day after the release of the article, Blumenthal acknowledged he had not always accurately described his military service in Vietnam. He served in the Marine Corps Reserves during the Vietnam War, and was stationed stateside.

Blumenthal said he mistakenly said he served "in" Vietnam rather than "during" Vietnam in his previous speeches. He said in a statement 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."

The revelation helped transform what was expected to be an easy Democratic win into a tight contest. A Quinnipiac University survey released last week showed McMahon trailing Blumenthal 49 to 46 percent among likely voters, with four percent undecided. Blumenthal's three-point advantage was within the poll's sampling error, and down from a six-point margin in a Quinnipiac survey conducted earlier in September.

Blumenthal Campaign Manager Mindy Myers nonetheless dismissed the latest ad as "another desperate attack from a losing campaign with nothing to say."

"Linda McMahon's money can't buy Dick Blumenthal's genuine record of standing up and fighting for the people of Connecticut," Myers said in a statement.

McMahon and Blumenthal are campaigning for the right to retiring Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd's seat. Dodd, who was first elected to the Senate in 1980, announced earlier this year that he would not seek another term in office.

Filed under: 2010 • Connecticut • Linda McMahon • Richard Blumenthal
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. grant

    It's funny how lies never haunt the Republicans.

    October 4, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. Hugo

    What they should be focusing on his Blumenthals anti-business legacy that he has established during his tenure as Attorney General. Anyone with a brain can see this guy is NOT about creating jobs and that he is totally about more and larger government control over individual citizens civil liberties...remember citizen's to stay on the path and don't touch or feed any of our flora and fauna....and be sure to purchase a State license to breathe our air!

    October 4, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Stolen valor is the absolute worse form of theft, Blumenthal. Absolutely unforgiveable.

    October 4, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Terry from West Texas

    A lot of young men back then were doing everything possible to stay out of Vietnam. They joined the reserves. They went to graduate school. They had kids. (If you are between 35 and 45 and you are the oldest child in your family, odds are that you were Daddy's draft exemption.) George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, and many other baby boomer kids were dodging the draft. Those who are scornful of them should be sure to tell us what branch of the service they were in.

    I was a draftee in the Viet Nam days, but I spent the whole two years on stateside assignments. I always make a point of telling people that I am a "veteran but not a combat veteran." No one ever shot at me. If this mealy-mouthed Blumenthal were running against anyone but a Conservative, I would be opposed to him. However, any liar running against a Conservative liar will always get my vote.

    Let us also note that McMahon could have volunteered for service herself, but did not.

    October 4, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. D. Bunker

    This BS by McMahon was debunked months ago, but like many GOBPbagger "ideas" it's like a zombie that just wont die. In any case, sane and rational Americans know that she is nothing but an empty head with no ideas for the future of America except lies, fear, smear and ignorance.

    October 4, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Nurse Lisa

    Dick has already taken his lumps for this, the veterans still stand behind him, and he has a reputation and legacy of fighting for the rights of Nutmeggers. Linda represents an entire industry rife with dishonest portrayals, fake personas, etc – and as a multimillionare who is trying to buy the election despite no history of action and no real plan beyond party rhetoric about helping CT, she should hardly be throwing stones on this issue. She has no substance and will lose.

    October 4, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. jenna

    The Tea Party is the Party of Quitters.
    When the going gets tough in the USA all they do is complain and scream dirty things.
    What is their plan for change? Go back to the Bush corruption that made the USA into a joke?
    When they are in government will they still just complain and blame?
    Do not be surprised that the Tea Party nuts and the Republican businessmen who pay their bills, just help out their own buddies with all our money. Their buddies are the same bankers and big business jerks that ruined our economy in the first place. They, like Palin, are a bunch of quitters just out for themselves.
    Don't get fooled again....

    October 4, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Glenn from Cary

    Yeah, and he apologized. At least he served. He's not a parasite like McMahon.

    October 4, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. John

    Linda McMahon at lease Attorney General Richard Blumenthal served in the armed forces,want have you done beside to lower Minimum wage. Now you said the media mis understand you,it sound too me it same excuse that SARAN PALIN said every time she get caught in a lie always blame the Media.

    October 4, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. diridi

    this is GOP bullly...they are thugs...

    October 4, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. effelbee

    Blumenthal at least served in the Marine reserves and actually reported as required for duty. Unlike our last President, who avoided service in Vietnam too but also went AWOL. Linda McMahon is going as low as she and her money can, bnut the vetrerans groups in CT know that Blumenthal has gone to meetings and veteran funerals there for years,,,

    October 4, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Big Hip Linda

    Oh Linda. . . . hush already.

    October 4, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I knew this would come up again. Blumenthal isn't the only one with a inflated resume. Let's look at Christine O'Donnell's resume and universities she attended. I certainly don't agree with Blumenthal's blatant lie about his "wartime" service, but his job as A.G. of Connecticutt is unrefutable. I wouldn't expect anything less from a politican hell bent on getting power to stoop to this level to demean their opponent.

    October 4, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
1 2