Toast or Just Singed?

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As you may have heard the Times has a very rough piece out on Connecticut Attorney General and Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal. The gist is that he has frequently given the impression that he served in Vietnam despite never having been deployed outside the USA. Add on the familiar series of deferments that kept him at work and at school during the peak years of Vietnam. Par for the course in itself but adding to the damage of the dishonesty in this case. When I read it, it wasn’t quite as bad as the billing. It struck me as more deeply embarrassing for him than catastrophic. But certainly not great.

They’ve got one video where he clearly says when ‘I served in Vietnam.’ That quote alone — especially since they’ve got it on video — is pretty devastating. But the other instances are more ambiguous or have him saying that he served during the ‘Vietnam era.’ When they point out that he or his staff didn’t correct profiles that referred to him as a Vietnam vet that seems like a bit of a stretch.

Ambinder says Blumenthal’s holding a presser tomorrow to respond. Josh Green notes that the story could be much more damaging for Blumenthal than your ordinary pol simply because his rep has always been so spotless and untouchable. My own sense is that the story will likely have less effect than people imagine. But I’d only bet half of nothing on that.

One thing that’s very clear is that this is the kind of bad press that makes a twenty point lead really come in handy.

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Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.
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