Sunday 22 April 2018

Democrat fighting for his political life after Vietnam 'lie'

David Usborne in New York

PEGGED by Democrats as the man best able to retain a key US Senate seat in Connecticut the state's long-serving attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, was fighting for his political life last night, amid reports that he has been lying about serving in Vietnam.

The truth-deficit problems were attached to the square-jawed Mr Blumenthal, who has been prominent in Connecticut politics for three decades, by 'The New York Times'.

A front-page article recalled more than one occasion when he seemed clearly to refer to having served in south-east Asia. But according to records obtained by the newspaper, Mr Blumenthal actively navigated bureaucratic loopholes to stay as far away from the war as possible, successfully obtaining five different deferments from 1965 to 1970, which allowed him to continue his studies in Harvard and England. He eventually served in the Marine Reserve, in a capacity that never took him out of the US.

Mr Blumenthal (64) agreed to seek the Senate seat that falls empty with the retirement of Senator Chris Dodd.

Unless he can explain his past statements on Vietnam, he may be in deep trouble.

Paul Begala, the Democratic consultant and former aide to Bill Clinton, said he appeared to have made a "catastrophic mistake" in misleading voters.

Veterans

His campaign team attacked 'The New York Times' for what it called the "outrageous distortion" of his military service. Mr Blumenthal was set to respond publicly at a veterans' hall last night.

He is quoted telling the newspaper that he may have "misspoken" on occasion about the war.

"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. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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