Richard Blumenthal, the Man, the Myth.

It is always dangerous when a politician “goes off script.”  Sometimes the truth comes out, like  Barak Obama talking to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth around. ”  Sometimes, things go a little aglee, leaving the candidate with egg on their face, like every other time that Joseph Biden opens his mouth.  And sometimes… sometimes things go very wrong indeed

“At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “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.””

No, on its face, there is absolutely nothing wrong with what the A.G. of the state of  Connecticut said — we do owe the men and women who serve this country our unconditional support.  What possible problem could I have with Richard Blumenthal’s words?  To answer a question with a riddle, how do you know when a politician is lying??  His lips are moving.

“Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.”

Five deferments.  That would put him in what some might call “Cheney territory,” with the small exception that Dick Cheney never actually claimed to have served in Vietnam.  Five deferments.  And what did you really do during the war, Mr. Blumenthal?

“The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.

In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.”

Well, hooray for Richard Blumenthal, who served his country collecting View-masters and Pet Rocks for the children of the greater Washington DC area.  “When I served in Viet Nam” indeed, Richard.

Now, you ask, perhaps this was a single slip of the tongue?  I mean, what man in his right mind would claim to have served in a war that he assiduously avoided like the plague?  Only a mad-man or a fool would inappropriately claim something so easily fact-checked…

Well, then, we might need to outfit the A.G. for a “hug-me” jacket, or at least a dunce cap, since this isn’t the first time he’s made the claim.

“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.””

He has, on other occasions, been a trifle more circumspect, leaving the listener to infer what he isn’t *quite* implying…

“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.””

A very lawyerly rendition, befitting a Harvard Yale Law graduate, leaving the audience with the distinct impression that the A.G. has served “in country” while leaving him with enough wiggle room (or, perhaps, “slither room” would be  more appropriate) to get out from under any unpleasant repercussions.  This is an impression that Mr. Blumenthal has not done very much to correct, over the years…

“But the way he speaks about his military service has led to confusion and frequent mischaracterizations of his biography in his home state newspapers. In at least eight newspaper articles published in Connecticut from 2003 to 2009, he is described as having served in Vietnam.

The New Haven Register on July 20, 2006, described him as “a veteran of the Vietnam War,” and on April 6, 2007, said that the attorney general had “served in the Marines in Vietnam.” On May 26, 2009, The Connecticut Post, a Bridgeport newspaper that is the state’s third-largest daily, described Mr. Blumenthal as “a Vietnam veteran.” And The Shelton Weekly reported on May 23, 2008, that Mr. Blumenthal “was met with applause when he spoke about his experience as a Marine sergeant in Vietnam.”

And the idea that he served in Vietnam has become such an accepted part of his public biography that when a national outlet, Slate magazine, produced a profile of Mr. Blumenthal in 2006, it said he had “enlisted in the Marines rather than duck the Vietnam draft.”

It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes.

Now, call my cynical, but I find this law part to be the most damaging to any claim of “mis-statement” on the part of the A.G.  — the combination of his seemingly deliberate ambiguity, his allegedly accidental misrepresentations and his willingness to permit news sources to perpetuate this canard of active military service in Vietnam all suggests a pattern of behavior on the part of Mr. Blumental — a repeated pattern where, it would seem, that Mr. Blumenthal misrepresented his military service to the public, so much so that even some of those who have worked closely with him were under the mistaken impression that he had served…

“In an interview, Jean Risley, the chairwoman of the Connecticut Vietnam Veterans Memorial Inc., recalled listening to an emotional Mr. Blumenthal offering remarks at the dedication of the memorial. She remembered him describing the indignities that he and other veterans faced when they returned from Vietnam.

“It was a sad moment,” she recalled. “He said, ‘When we came back, we were spat on; we couldn’t wear our uniforms.’ It looked like he was sad to me when he said it.”

UPDATE: My beautiful wife, upon reading this news story, wrote in inquiry to A.G. Blumenthal’s Facebook page, inquiring, as a constituent, that he provide some explanation for these misrepresentations.  It was promptly deleted.

UPDATE 2 (Jim): Speaking of updates, AP at HotAir has the rundown from media across the country. As does Capitol Report. Plus … the Dumbocrats go trolling already?

UPDATE 3:  Apparently, the New York Times has heard Mr. Blumenthal’s “explanation” and found it wanting.

Posted in

Dave in EH


  1. gillie28 on May 17, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    I was surprised it was the NYT that apparently broke the story about Blumenthal's five deferments.  The AG stated that he may have "misspoken" concerning his military service.  How could he have not known whether he was there or not???  I wish just ONE politician would just tell the truth: "I lied for political gain."  He would have much more respect.  Still, he attended all those departures and arrivals of the troops going to serve in recent years.  Oh, wait, could it have possibly been because there were TV cameras in the room?????

  2. donh on May 18, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Here is the video of Blumenthal lying…..  … The backdrop of childrens red hand prints finger painted on the wall is a nice touch. Something worse about lying when before children in school…this one is for you Gillie…

  3. Wayne SW on May 18, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Tricky Dick is just like all the rest.

    Guess which GOP Senatorial Candidate is laying waste to Tricky Dick? 

    Linda McMahon.

    The timing for this just before the Convention is the work of a very organized campaign. Methodical, precise and efficient.

  4. natalie123 on May 18, 2010 at 5:02 am

    This man has been our Attorney General for how long??? a position that one would think would require they hold "Truth" and "honesty" in the highest regard. He has no respect for the truth in even the simplest form. We don't need a guy like that in Washington and its too bad he's been our A.G. here for so long.

  5. Publius on May 18, 2010 at 5:40 am

    I don't know, but if the past is any guide,  I think the New York Times may have a defamation of character or libel suit filed against them in the very near future.

    • Wyndeward on May 18, 2010 at 5:44 am

      How do you figure?  There would have to be, generally speaking, a material mis-statement of fact to have a credible case.  Seeing as they have him on tape saying what he said (heard it this morning over and over) and that he permitted the newspaper biographies to retain their mistaken impression that Blumenthal was a combat veteran, he'd be laughed out of any court that didn't involve kangaroos.

      Truth is an absolute defense against charges of this sort.

    • Dimsdale on May 18, 2010 at 6:22 am

      I would think that the discovery phase would be a nightmare for the new "Tricky Dick".  SOS would know more about that than I.


      Never trust a man with a bad comb over.

    • Anne-EH on May 18, 2010 at 6:46 am

      But could the "eternal general" win out in this one?

    • Dimsdale on May 18, 2010 at 9:03 am

      Given the Democrat machine here, it is not out of the question.   What happens to Byseiwicz if he decides to drop out?


      Too bad Tricky Dick's ability to tell the truth is "mything"!

  6. Dimsdale on May 18, 2010 at 6:26 am

    It seems that the myth has far outgrown the man.  The lame attempt by his press flack at spinning this was truly revealing in what it didn't say.  Like the accusations were wrong, perhaps?  Check his phone calls for contacts with John "Christmas in Cambodia" Kerry!


    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

  7. Tbone McGraw on May 18, 2010 at 9:59 am

    The man, the myth the deceiver!! It doesn't matter the liberal/idiots in the demonut party will elected this liar no matter what the facts are! They kept that idiot Dodd there for 30 years!!! I wonder if this incident will be "Seared in his memory".  And Kerry thought he was the "Biggest Cheese Head in the World" as he stood on the famous "Lambert Field".

    When will people wake up?

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