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NY Times claims Connecticut AG lied about Vietnam service

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May 17, 2010

Richard Blumenthal has been the front-runner to replace Chris Dodd in the United States Senate since announcing his candidacy in January 2010

HARTFORD, Connecticut: Words spoken in 2008 at the Veterans War Memorial Building in Shelton, Connecticut to honor those who served during the Vietnam conflict are coming back to haunt State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. In his speech at the event, he recalled "the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse” visited upon him and his fellow soldiers when they returned home from combat.[1] The New York Times cites at least eight other local newspaper stories published between 2003 and 2009 baring similar comments from Blumenthal.

The problem is that not only did Blumenthal never serve in Vietnam, but that he deliberately sought "at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war."[1] When he was confronted about the issue in a recent interview, he argued that he can not possibly be knowledgeable about every single thing that is written about him and dodge the matter of whether or not his office has taken steps to correct the inaccuracies.

What makes the issue all the more contentious is that one of the five Republican, former Congressman Rob Simmons, "enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a Private, and spent 19 months in Vietnam where he earned two Bronze Star Medals."[2] Blumenthal is receiving severe backlash for the revelation from a number of sources. Andy Levy, an Army Veteran and FOX News commentator, called the Connecticut Attorney General "an utterly despicable coward who claims the bravery and actions of others as your own. Rot in hell."[3] Meanwhile, liberal-leaning pollster Nate Silver suggests that Blumenthal exit the Senate race, arguing that "for a public servant, lying about military service is way worse than lying about an affair."[4]

Blumenthal's senatorial campaign is contending that the article is a "hit job" and "full of inaccuracies."[5]

Connecticut's top law enforcer had been considered a front-runner to replace Senator Chris Dodd in the United States Senate since making his candidacy official in January 2010. Public Policy Polling released information from a survey conducted just prior to Dodd's retirement announcement that showed in a head-to-head matchup, Blumenthal would easily defeat Simmons 59 - 28 percent.[6] Another poll conducted by Quinnipiac University a few days later exhibited Blumenthal's margin of victory over Simmons widening to 62 - 27 percent.[7]