Skip to comments.Simmons: Blumenthal must apologize [Veteran calls for prosecution of Blumenthal]
Posted on 05/18/2010 10:34:12 AM PDT by neverdem
AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File
In this Jan. 6, 2010 file photo, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retirement of fellow Democrat Christopher Dodd in Hartford, Conn. Blumenthal is defending himself against a New York Times report he misstated his military service in Vietnam.
Hartford - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the leading Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, was scrambling Tuesday to control the political fall-out from his 2008 remarks falsely stating he served in Vietnam during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
Blumenthal plans a press conference at 2 p.m. at the Hannon-Hatch VFW in West Hartford, where he will appear to address a New York Times report detailing multiple occasions where he has misstated or spoken ambiguously about his Vietnam-era service.
The Blumenthal campaign has already denounced the report as "an outrageous distortion," but did not identify any errors of fact in the Times report.
Meanwhile, Blumenthal's Republican rivals (along with his few Democratic opponents) are smelling blood.
Jim Bancroft was standing in front of the state Capitol Tuesday morning, waving a U.S. Marine Corps flag on a white plastic pole, holding a white dry-erase board on which he had written the following slogan:
"Prosecute Blumenthal Stolen Valor Act"
Within hours of the New York Times' publication of its article -- based on a video clip leaked to the paper by the campaign of Republican Linda McMahon -- conservatives like Bancroft sense an opening, and a chance to demolish a candidate who had once seemed nearly insurmountable to some Connecticut political experts.
Bancroft, who served in the Marines from 1977 to 1981, is an ardent conservative and thus an ideological foe of Democrats like Blumenthal. But he said Tuesday that he had occasionally defended the attorney general when he heard others charge that Blumenthal had falsely claimed service in Vietnam.
"He told me he was a reservist in D.C.," Bancroft said, referring to a conversation he had with the attorney general at one of the numerous rallies to send off or welcome home troops that Blumenthal attends.
"I even stood up for him," Bancroft said. "I'm about as right-wing as you can get, but I defended him, and he deserved it."
Bancroft said he was shocked by the video published Monday evening by the Times, in which Blumenthal, speaking at a 2008 event in Norwalk, says the country has "learned something since the days that I served in Vietnam." The Times also reported that Blumenthal had spoken of having "returned" from Vietnam in 2003, at best a misleading construction since the future attorney general's reserve units were based in Washington and Connecticut, and he never fought in the war.
When a reporter noted that Blumenthal had often seemed careful to note he had been a reservist, and not to suggest he had served in Vietnam or experienced combat, Bancroft agreed, but said he was surprised and angered to hear the sentence Blumenthal uttered in Norwalk.
"I've never heard him say it either," Bancroft said Tuesday morning, "and it shocked me to hear him say it that way. He's a lawyer. He knows exactly what words mean."
Blumenthal will address the controversy at a 2 p.m. press conference in West Hartford.
Meanwhile, one of his rivals for the U.S. Senate, Linda McMahon, is taking credit for planting the story with the Times, an apparent attempt to demonstrate its robust opposition research machine in advance of Friday's Republican convention, and an expected primary in August.
McMahon's strongest Republican rival for the nomination, former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, will hold a press conference about the Blumenthal controversy at 12:30 p.m. at the state Capitol.
Bancroft's sign urged that Blumenthal be investigated under the 2005 federal Stolen Valor Act, a statute that attempts to criminalize the making of false claims about military service and medals. It's unclear if that law, which some lawmakers have also proposed, would apply in this case. It is also subject to a current court challenge, on the grounds that it could violate First Amendment rights to free speech.
Democratic politicians were reeling at the Blumenthal revelation.
A high-ranking Democratic operative in Connecticut, who had earlier expressed concern about Blumenthal's missteps in the opening moments of his campaign, was blunt Monday night. The operative responded to an e-mail about the Times story with a single word: "horrible."
State Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, the co-chairman of the legislature's Veterans Affairs Committee, said in an interview Tuesday that he was "taken aback" by Blumenthal's remarks at the Norwalk rally, and waiting to hear the attorney general's explanation at the press conference this afternoon.
"My recollection of his speeches is that he's pretty forthcoming about not having served in theater," Maynard said.
In previous appearances where he'd heard Blumenthal mention his military service, Maynard said, it was customarily to highlight the importance of treating current service members and veterans respectfully, even though the country was once again politically divided over war.
"He was always focusing on the service of others," Maynard said, and careful to avoid claiming to have gone abroad himself.
Having seen the clip of Blumenthal's Norwalk appearance, Maynard said. "It's surprising. I'm pretty taken aback by it."
Reminds me of that other sleazebag from a neighboring state.
This veteran (not Vietnam) seconds that call.
who hid this information for so long?
Actually, physically resembles a bag of pus.
Didn't he know that lying with impunity is a privilege only for National progressives? The MSM can only cover so many lies in a given news cycle.
Blumenthal would be the perfect candidate to replace Holder.
Ditto that from this Veteran!
Yea, Spitzer was another Attorney General who was on the way up for awhile. He made his bones by attacking Wall Street just like others are trying now.
John Kerry lied to Congress about war crimes and was never prosecuted for treason. Hell, he even ran for president.
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
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Taking Care of Our Own!
You know, I am a Vietnam era veteran. And, I thought that perhaps Blumenthal had just forgotton the “era” designation. Then I read he went in in 1977. Dumb, just flat dumb.
Nice to have that smug, self-satisfied smirk wiped off his smarmy face (when he thought he was a shoo-in).
Another turd like Murtha? I know I met Murtha when I was at Quantico in ‘70-’71. He had a pig face and was soft as dough even then.
Prosecution? For misrepresenting his military service? There aren’t enough prisons to hold all such guys.
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