Dodd Defends Blumenthal, Calls Vietnam Row A ‘Bump’

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Top Democrats are defending Connecticut Attorney General, and Senate hopeful, Richard Blumenthal from charges that he lied about his military service during the Vietnam War. Retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who Blumenthal hopes to succeed, strongly reiterated his support for Blumenthal, telling me the new allegations change nothing.

“Dick Blumenthal and I have known each other for almost 40 years, and I’ve always known him to be the most honorable of people,” Dodd said, just outside his office. “And nothing I read says anything differently about Dick Blumenthal. He’s going to be a great United States Senator in my view. He’s been a terrific Attorney General. So this is a bump but frankly I think that he’s handled it well and as I said, I’ve known him to be nothing but the most honorable of human beings in public life.”

But what if Republicans have the goods on Blumenthal? What if he can’t adequately contextualize the story, which has onlookers left and right predicting his demise? Even then, Dodd says, Blumenthal should persevere.“Doesn’t change that at all in my view,” Dodd went on. “Dick Blumenthal, as I said, has been straightforward. He’s been terrific. The people of Connecticut admire him, respect him, as I do, and I’m looking forward to that day in January when he’ll be sworn in as the next Senator from Connecticut.”

Last night, the New York Times published a damning story, contrasting statements in which Blumenthal said–or suggested–that he fought in the Vietnam War, with military records, which show he joined the Marine Corps as a reservist in 1970, and served for six years, including a six-month active-duty stint in South Carolina.

Republican Senate hopeful, and former professional wrestling executive, Linda McMahon is claiming credit for unearthing the story and feeding it to the Times. Blumenthal will address the allegations at an event later today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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