–The Linda McMahon campaign reportedly fed the story to Times:
The Blumenthal Bombshell comes at the end of more than 2 months of deep, persistent research by Republican Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign. It gave the explosive Norwalk video recording to The Times. This is what comes of $16 million, a crack opposition research operation and an opponent who, in the words of the president Blumenthal worked for on a draft deferment, who gave them the sword.
–The response from Rob Simmons — decorated Vietnam vet, former GOP Rep., and potential Blumenthal opponent who ironically stands to gain much more from the story than does McMahon:
“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. 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.”
–Over at The Feed, Greg has the Blumenthal camp saying that their man will stay in the race:
Connecticut’s attorney general and presumed Democratic candidate for Senate planned to stay in the race despite a report that he didn’t serve in Vietnam as he had claimed in public appearances.
Richard Blumenthal’s campaign manager Mindy Myers said Monday night that her boss had acted honorably despite a report by the New York Times that Mr. Blumenthal was not a Vietnam veteran despite his past statements indicating he had served there in uniform.
“The New York Times story is an outrageous distortion of Dick Blumenthal’s record of service,” said Ms. Myers, who added the candidate would hold a news conference Tuesday with military veterans. “Dick has a long record of standing up for veterans.”
–HuffPo has the Blumenthal camp talking points, including a response to reports that the McMahon campaign was behind the story:
-Here are the facts: unlike many of his peers, Dick Blumenthal voluntarily joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1970 and served for six months in Parris Island, SC and six years in the reserves. He received no special treatment from anyone. Today’s story unfortunately distorts Dick Blumenthal’s record of service by implying that he did not serve.
-In the past twenty years, Dick has attended literally hundreds of vets events, debates, news conferences where he was clear, honest, and proud about his service in the Marine Corps Reserve. In fact, as recently as the US Senate debate on March 1, 2010, Blumenthal clearly stated “serving in the United States military gave me a perspective as well, even in the reserves. Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have seen first-hand the affects of military action, and no one wants it to be the first resort, nor do we want to mortgage the countries future….”
-Dick has been a constant champion of veterans and of the military. Today Connecticut veterans will come together to show they have his back, just like he has had theirs.
-On a few occasions out of hundreds, Dick misspoke and he’ll be the first to admit that those were mistakes. That doesn’t take anything away from Dick’s service or his long record of standing up for veterans – he is known throughout the state as a strong advocate for vets services and benefits.
-His opponent’s campaign admits they are the ones who cherry-picked the quotes and are behind the hit piece. It is no surprise Linda McMahon would want to smear the Attorney General, considering all of the debauchery at the WWF under her watch, including her attempt to interfere with an investigation into widespread drug abuse.
UPDATE: Simmons is using the incident to contrast himself not only with Blumenthal, but with Linda McMahon. Here is Simmons to Politico:
“It’s appalling that the Attorney General of the state of Connecticut – a highly-educated and trained lawyer – would misspeak about such a significant issue,” Simmons told POLITICO this morning. “Clearly he knows he never was in Vietnam, and yet he’s on record saying he was in Vietnam – obviously to appeal to an audience, and that’s a very troubling disclosure.
“But it’s matched in some respects by Mrs. McMahon who brought the charge — when just a few montnhs ago it was disclosed that she did not tell the truth about her college education and her degree — which is again something everybody should realy know,” Simmons said, referring to a Hartford Courant report that McMahon claimed on documents filed with her appointment to the State Board of Education that she had a degree in education, when her degree was in French.
“I got a degree in English Literature,” Simmons said. “It’s hard to make a mistake about something like this.”
As the race comes to be dominated by Blumenthal’s Vietnam claims, and questions about whether his candidacy will survive the week, Simmons argues that his well known record and Vietnam service make him a better counterpoint than McMahon, who has been beset by a serious of embarrassing reports over her time at the wrestling company. Her spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry on Simmons’ attacks.
“I think we have issues of character ron both sides of the discussion,” he said, referring to another report. “She signed a memo when she was CEO of the WWF that tipped off a steroid deaing doctor to a federal investigation.”