Toys for Pols
Submitted By Todd on May 18th at 6:46am
When Chris Dodd announced he wouldn't seek another term in the Senate, Democrats were relieved.Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a popular Democrat, was expected to cruise into the seat, while Dodd's reelection chances had looked shaky. Now, things aren't quite so rosy for the bad guys.
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “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.”Blumenthal gets busted on his claims of service in Viet Nam by none other than the New York Times!
There was one problem: Mr. 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.Instead of serving, Blumenthal did what anyone would have done.
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.But he did have military service.
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.Toys for Tots.
In an interview on Monday, the attorney general said that he had misspoken about his service during the Norwalk event and might have misspoken on other occasions. “My intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward, out of respect to the veterans who served in Vietnam,” he said.His intentions did not come to fruition in action.
In 2003, he addressed a rally in Bridgeport, where about 100 military families gathered to express support for American troops overseas. “When we returned, we saw nothing like this,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “Let us do better by this generation of men and women.” At a 2008 ceremony in front of the Veterans War Memorial Building in Shelton, he praised the audience for paying tribute to troops fighting abroad, noting that America had not always done so. “I served during the Vietnam era,” he said. “I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse.”Will Blumenthal change his mind about seeking the Senate?
It remains to be seen how badly these revelations will damage Blumenthal's front-running candidacy. He faces only nominal primary opposition at the moment although the state's filing deadline isn't for another week. That week is going to be the toughest of Blumenthal's career.High Five! In other scandal news, a long term congressman from Indiana is resigning rather than facing questions from the ethics committee.
FOX has learned that eight-term Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) will announce his resignation today after it came to light that he was conducting an affair with a female staffer who worked in his district office. Multiple senior House sources indicated that the extent of the affair would have landed Souder before the House Ethics Committee. Elected as a family values conservative as part of the Republican revolution in 1994, Souder survived a tough re-election challenge in 2008 and survived a contested primary two weeks ago. Souder was absent from Washington most of last week, missing multiple votes and only voting on Thursday. Souder's resignation would make him the second lawmaker to step down in less than two months. In March, former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) resigned amid allegations that he sexually harassed male staffers. Massa's case is now before the House Ethics Committee.