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Blumenthal regrets comments on service


May 18, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn., May 18 (UPI) -- Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he takes "full responsibility" for misleading statements about his military service in the Vietnam war.

"On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service, and I regret that and I take full responsibility," Blumenthal, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, said Tuesday during a news conference at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in West Hartford, "but I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country."

The New York Times earlier reported Blumenthal's statements about his military service didn't square with the record. While on the stump, the Democrat trying to succeed retiring Sen. Christopher Dodd used ambiguous language that suggested he served in Vietnam when in fact he received at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970, the Times said, and spent his time in the reserves stateside.

Blumenthal said the errors were "totally unintentional" and he had made them only several times during the hundreds of public appearances he's made.

Blumenthal said he received no special treatment when it came to military service.

"You want to know how I got into the United States Marine Corps Reserves? I looked them up in a phone book. No special help. No special privileges," said Blumenthal, who was a White House aide at the time. "I joined the Reserves by picking up the phone and signing up. Unlike many of my peers, I chose to join the military and serve my country."

Blumenthal's campaign called the Times article an "outrageous distortion" of his record. On it was posted a 26-second video of a debate in March in which Blumenthal mentioned his military service, saying he had been "in the reserves," adding, "Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have seen firsthand the effects of military action."


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