Questions raised about Richard Blumenthal Vietnam service

Richard Blumenthal

Richard Blumenthal, on the right, is facing accusations of exaggerating his Vietnam service. Image from Flickr.

The Connecticut Senate race has seen its share of ups and downs, but the most recent question, about Blumenthanl’s Vietnam statements, has raised the temperature even more. The front-runner in the race for much of the last year, Richard Blumenthal has banked on Vietnam service as well as his political record. He is running against Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wresting Entertainment who has given her campaign no fax cash advance loans of more than $14 million of her own money. What are the accusations being leveled about Blumenthal’s Vietnam service, and are they true?

Richard Blumenthal Vietnam statements

The accusation, leveled by the New York Times and claimed by McMahon’s campaign, is that Blumenthal Vietnam statements are contradictory. Blumenthal did not serve it Vietnam, though he did serve in the Marine Reserves in the 1970s. The statements at issue include multiple speeches in multiple places. The two that best exemplify this Blumenthal Vietnam dichotomy are:

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam.”

followed by:

“Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have seen firsthand the effects of military action, and no one wants it to be the first resort…”

See video of Richard Blumenthal Vietnam statements

The McMahon connection to Blumenthal Vietnam story

While it is not unusual for political opponents to feed the press stories about each other, McMahon’s campaign has taken the unusual step of claiming the Blumenthal Vietnam story. A Republican contender for the Connecticut Senate seat, McMahon has consistently fallen behind Blumenthal in the polls. At the same time, her campaign has been gaining ground in the last few months. The campaign proudly took credit for the Blumenthal Vietnam story, saying “This is what comes of $16 million, a crack opposition research…” Political spending on opposition research is an accepted and expected part of the spending of campaigns, but the $16 million allegedly spent to discredit Blumenthal is one of the highest figures for a recent Senate race.

Reaction of Blumenthal to Vietnam accusations

In reaction to the Blumental Vietnam accusations leveled by the New York Times and McMahon campaign, the Blumenthal campaign came out guns blazing. The Communications Director for the campaign said “It’s no surprise Republicans would want to smear the Attorney General, considering all of the debauchery at the WWF under Linda McMahon’s watch,” while the Campaign Manager took a less slanderous approach by saying “Unlike many of his peers, Dick Blumenthal voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Parris Island, S.C., and six years in the reserves. He received no special treatment from anyone. Dick has a long record of standing up for veterans.”

So what do you think? Has Richard Blumenthal deliberately misstated his Vietnam service record, or have reports been simply unclear?


New York Times
Daily Caller
Washington Post