HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal responded Tuesday to a New York Times report that says he lied about serving in Vietnam.
Blumenthal's campaign manager called the report "an outrageous distortion," while Blumenthal, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, called his claims of serving in Vietnam unintentional errors.
"On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service, and I regret that and I take full responsibility," Blumenthal said at a news conference, according to the Times, "but I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country."
Monday's Times report said Blumenthal obtained five deferrals that kept him from being sent to Vietnam. Those deferrals allowed him to continue his schooling and begin his professional career.
Republican Senate candidate Rob Simmons released a statement.
"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," it says.
"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."
The report notes remarks made by Blumenthal at a 2008 ceremony for veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers.
"We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam," Blumenthal said.
"And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it - Afghanistan or Iraq - we owe our military men and women unconditional support."
The report adds that at another rally in 2003, Blumenthal said, "When we returned, we saw nothing like this. Let us do better by this generation of men and women."
Campaign manager Mindy Myers fired back at the Times.
""The New York Times story is an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal's record of service," she said.
"Unlike many of his peers, Dick Blumenthal voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Paris Island, S.C., and six years in the reserves. He received no special treatment from anyone."
From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at email@example.com.