While the revelation that Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, Richard Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam continues to sink in, Republicans and Democrats across the board are lining up to wage a media battle over the story. The New York Times published a scathing article Monday night, which delved into Blumenthal’s past statements about serving overseas during the Vietnam War. Just a few hours later, GOP Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s campaign bragged about feeding the information to the paper.
Former Congressman Rob Simmons, McMahon’s rival for the GOP nomination and a Vietnam veteran who earned two Bronze Stars, released a statement, saying in part: “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.”
Blumenthal’s campaign attempted to do damage control last night, with his campaign manager pushing back against the allegation and by trying to shore up his supposed military credentials:
“The New York Times story is an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal’s record of service,” campaign manager Mindy Myers said. “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.”
Democrats actively involved in the race are divided on how to handle the bombshell discovery. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s spokesperson Eric Schultz accuses the Republicans of attempting to “smear” Blumenthal, while his rival for the Democratic nomination, Merrick Alpert, blasts him:
“He was a coward to go and get five deferments and he’s clearly a liar for standing up for his own political benefit years later…It’s disgraceful behavior from someone who is clearly not qualified to serve in the U.S. Senate.”
Bloggers on the liberal websites Daily Kos and Huffington Post are taking aim at Blumenthal, calling for him to step out of the race. While they seek to compare the past woes of the GOP to this current scandal, their message to Blumenthal is loud and clear: step aside for the good of the party. We may well find out what the next step will be from the man at the center of this storm, with a press conference scheduled at 2pm this afternoon.