Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic Senate hopeful Richard
Blumenthal got into big trouble
recently over controversial reports that he had allowed voters to believe falsely that he had fought in the Vietnam War. Many pundits did not buy Blumenthal's full-throated denial,
although some defended him by saying the
initial reports were misleading. Now Blumenthal has formally
apologized, writing to the
Hartford Courant, "At times when I have sought to honor veterans, I
have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service
in the Marine Corps Reserves. I have firmly and clearly expressed
regret and taken responsibility for my words. I have made mistakes and I
am sorry. I truly regret offending anyone." He then apologized on
video. Does he still have a shot at Chris Dodd's Senate seat?
- Chris Dodd: Record 'Outweighs' Controversy Senator Dodd said, "His record of service to our state certainly outweighs the misstatements that he has acknowledged and apologized for. ... I can't think of a better legacy I could have than to have Dick Blumenthal follow me in that job."
- Blumenthal Handily Won the Primary Congressional Quarterly's John McArdle reports, "In the runup to [Friday's] convention many political observers wondered if the story would rile Democratic delegates enough to create an entry for businessman Merrick Alpert to garner enough support to force Blumenthal into a primary. But as delegate voting got underway Friday, Alpert took to the podium and withdrew his name from consideration. Blumenthal was quickly nominated by acclamation."
- Can Blumenthal Move Beyond This? New Haven Independent's Paul Bass wonders, "It's unclear how quickly that can happen, as demonstrated by the pictured sticker worn by a delegate at last weekend's Republican state convention (spotted by WTNH's Erin Cox). One question is whether Blumenthal waited too long to apologize, thereby keeping the story alive, making the apology itself a story, and basically daring the New York Times to continue writing stories about instances in which he fudged his military record."
- He Took a Real Hit, But Will Survive The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza appraises the outcome, "Internally, however, there is an acknowledgment that Blumenthal has taken a hit from the allegations -- though Democratic sources insist he had such a large lead prior to the Vietnam issue surfacing that he remain a steady favorite in the fall. ... At issue for Blumenthal is whether there are more allegations/revelations to come about past misstatements -- either regarding Vietnam or his resume viewed more broadly. Another significant revelation would put his political career in serious jeopardy. Short of that, however, he is likely to survive this episode."
- Why He's Polling Up A new Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll shows him leading Republican Linda McMahon 55 to 40 percent, with 91 percent of respondents aware of the Vietnam controversy. The poll adds, "On the quality of which candidate stands up for regular people, Blumenthal holds a 28-point lead over McMahon, and on which candidate will be effective and get things done, Blumenthal holds a 23-point lead."
- He's Saved by Weak GOP Opponent Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall calls wrestling figure Linda McMahon "an odd choice" over her GOP primary opponent, Bill Simmons.
Now, between the two GOP candidates who can get more traction on this issue? Not even close, it would seem. Simmons is a genuine Vietnam combat veteran; he later served in the CIA and also in the Army reserves (retiring as a Colonel in 2003). If anyone can make it an issue he can. Meanwhile McMahon has basically spent her career as a sort of executive/professional clown in an 'industry' which is almost synonymous with fakery, nonsense and various other baggage you just don't want to bring into a political campaign. Even if voters decide Blumenthal is a seriously flawed person, I don't think many people would question that he's a serious person. And that's just not a claim McMahon's supporters can make.