U.S. Senate candidate and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 is coming under fire after The New York Times reported discrepancies between what he has said his role in the Vietnam War was and what it actually was.
The Times reported today that Blumenthal never served in Vietnam, obtaining at least five military deferments, even though he characterizes himself as a Vietnam veteran.
“What is striking about Mr. Blumenthal’s record is the contrast between the many steps he took that allowed him to avoid Vietnam, and the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans’ ceremonies or other patriotic events,” the Times reports. “Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue, as in his speech to the group in Norwalk [in March 2008]. At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar.”
Blumenthal told the Times on Monday that he had misspoken in Norwalk about serving in Vietnam and that he may have misspoken in other instances.
“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.
In a statement issued Monday night, Mindy Myers, Blumenthal’s campaign manager, called the Times article “an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal’s record of service.”
“Dick Blumenthal voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Parris Island, SC and six years in the reserves,” Myers said. “He received no special treatment from anyone.”
According to a spokeswoman for the campaign, Blumenthal will conduct a news conference with Connecticut veterans tomorrow, with further details forthcoming.
Blumenthal polled far ahead of the Republican candidates for governor in a Quinnipiac University Poll released in March.