Used to be you could wear a medal and say you served in Vietnam, but the times, they are a changing, and records are much easier to fact check. The New York Times did just that. When CT Democrat Senate candidate Blumenthal said to a group of veterans that he had Served In Vietnam they found the following:
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.
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.
Many politicians have faced questions over their decisions during the Vietnam War, and Mr. Blumenthal, who is seeking the seat being vacated by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, is not alone in staying out of the war.
And Now this: The GOP candidate was REALLY in Vietnam!
Update: It gets worse for Blumenthal. Meet his likely Republican challenger, Rob Simmons:
Rob’s public service career began when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a Private, and spent 19 months in Vietnam where he earned two Bronze Star Medals. Rob continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence Officer, retiring as a Colonel in 2003 with over 37 years of active and reserve service.
Update: Credit where credit is due: No doubt it pained the NYT to drop a bomb on one of the few surefire Democratic winners this November, but they dropped it anyway.
UPDATE: Blumenthal campaign statement
“The New York Times story is an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal’s record of service. Unlike many of his peers, 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. He received no special treatment from anyone. Dick has a long record of standing up for veterans. Tomorrow, veterans will be standing up with Dick.”
SIMMONS STATEMENT ON BLUMENTHAL SERVICE RECORD REPORT
(MYSTIC) – Rob Simmons, candidate for U.S. Senate, made the following statement today in reaction to tonight’s New York Times report on Richard Blumenthal’s service record:
“As someone who served, I respect Richard Blumenthal for wearing the uniform, but I am deeply troubled by allegations that he has misrepresented his service. Too many have sacrificed too much to have their valor stolen in this way. I hope Mr. Blumenthal steps forward and forthrightly addresses the questions that have arisen about this matter.”