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Into The Mud They Go
May 18, 2010 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, the New York Times published an investigative report showing Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) either lied or spoke ambiguously about serving in Vietnam in several past public appearances. Blumenthal is currently the Democratic frontrunner for Senator Chris Dodd's Senate seat, and is expected to face former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R). Today, McMahon's campaign announced they "fed" the story to the paper and posted the video of Blumenthal's statement to their YouTube channel. More from Politico.

This revelation may sink Blumenthal's chances. The Times article also accuses him of failing to issue corrections to various media outlets when they have erroneously reported that he served in Vietnam.

Reactions to the news from:
* Blumenthal, defending his record.
* FoxNews
* Daily Caller.
* Atlantic
* PW Torch
* Kevin Rennie, lawyer and former Republican state senator and representative. (Rennie's blog entry is reposted at Linda McMahon's site, here, and his editorial archive at the Hartford Courant is here.) Rennie mentions Bruce Caputo's failed campaign against Patrick Moynihan in 1982, which was torpedoed by similar revelations.

From the New Yorker:
During Moynihan’s 1982 reëlection campaign, it was {Tim} Russert who pointed out to reporters inconsistencies in the record of a Republican opponent, Bruce Caputo: Caputo had claimed to be a draftee and an Army lieutenant when, in fact, he had taken a civilian job in the Defense Department as a way to avoid the draft. Caputo’s campaign ran to ground, and the phrase “to be Russerted” entered the lexicon of New York politics. “Get me a Russert,” Gary Hart later demanded of his staff. Lawrence Grossman, the president of NBC News, was so taken by Russert’s grasp of practical politics that he hired him as his assistant; eventually, Russert was appointed chief of the Washington bureau.
NPR interviewed the NY Times reporter who wrote the article this morning.
posted by zarq (124 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Normally this would be a problem but this is Connecticut and apparently being an enormous fucking asshole is a key electability criterion in that state, so hey, nothing to worry about, Dems.
posted by enn at 9:25 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gaah to hell with all of 'em!
posted by Mister_A at 9:25 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand this at all. Blumenthal has said openly, repeatedly, that he didn't serve in Vietnam. The idea that he was trying to "hide" or "lie" about this makes no sense whatsoever. I mean, he said flat out in a candidate's debate a while back that he didn't serve.

Blumenthal's an idiot for being vague and misleading, but the biggest idiot here seems to be McMahon, since if they're openly saying they're responsible for feeding this story to news outlets then they blew it doing so months before the Connecticut primary. It's clear that she will be destroyed if she has to face Blumenthal in the general so I guess she's trying to hope that she can snowball a Spitzer-level scandal that forces him to bail out.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:26 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Looks like the campaign took down their announcement of feeding the story to the press. A quick glance at their website has a reprint of the Times' article.


That said, what was the guy thinking? Have not enough fake Vietnam vets been outed? People will be telling me next that John "Four Leaf" Tayback didn't serve, yeesh!
posted by Atreides at 9:27 AM on May 18, 2010


He should hit McMahon with a folding chair.
posted by electroboy at 9:27 AM on May 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


To sum up:

Democrats who openly admit to not serving in Vietnam are liars.
Republicans who hide the fact that they dodged service are Real Amurrkins.
posted by DU at 9:29 AM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, just to nitpick:

Reactions to the news from:
* Blumenthal, defending his record. - Google news. Okay.
* FoxNews - right wing news site.
* Daily Caller. - right wing blog.
* Atlantic - right wing blog.
* PW Torch - pro wrestling news website.
* Kevin Rennie - Republican politician, linked to McMahon's own site.

Really?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:30 AM on May 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


I’m more interested in the fact that Linda fucking McMahon is a legitimate contender.
posted by Think_Long at 9:31 AM on May 18, 2010


I’m more interested in the fact that Linda fucking McMahon is a legitimate contender.

Yeah, I think of "contenders" as related to boxing, not wrestling.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:32 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think everyone, everywhere should hit McMahon with a folding chair.

This to me is not such a big deal. I'm fairly sure that you can find way more video of him categorically saying that he wasn't in Nam than he "misspoke" in several appearances. Calling to correct every news org that writes a story about you would be tough...I'm not sure whether there's staff enough for that, or time to root through all the various paywalls and sites hidden from Google News/without RSS, etc.
posted by nevercalm at 9:32 AM on May 18, 2010


Good post, by the way, rather than the usual TPM thing or whatevs.
posted by nevercalm at 9:33 AM on May 18, 2010


Democrats who openly admit to not serving in Vietnam are liars.

Just because you told the truth on some occasions doesn't mean the lies on other occasions somehow aren't lies.

Blumenthal: "We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam."
posted by enn at 9:33 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


No matter what Blumenthal actually said, it seems likely he's now going to permanently tarred as a "liar" about his service, much as everyone "knows" that Al Gore ludicrously claimed to have invented the Internet. There may be just enough time to get one of CT's Representatives into the race.
posted by Bromius at 9:35 AM on May 18, 2010


Your "fed the story to the NYT" link is broken. ..or was it pushed?
posted by DU at 9:39 AM on May 18, 2010


No matter what Blumenthal actually said, it seems likely he's now going to permanently tarred as a "liar" about his service, much as everyone "knows" that Al Gore ludicrously claimed to have invented the Internet. There may be just enough time to get one of CT's Representatives into the race.

Which goes back to my original point. Regardless of factual percentage this was a hit piece by the McMahon campaign, which the Times was more than happy to pursue with a zeal that I can't help notice was missing during a certain Texas governor's claims of exemplary service in the Air National Guard.

They're trying to kneecap Blumenthal from being the nominee because even with this accusation, McMahon is still such an unpalatable candidate that Blumenthal would still beat her in November.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:39 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Really?

Yes, really. Politico is above the fold and is neutral.

Fox News gives the right wing perspective. Daily Caller and Atlantic roundups of reactions I couldn't find anywhere else. Kevin Rennie is important because according to the Politico link, he's the one who first reported that McMahon's campaign was behind the story leak to the Times. PWTorch mention's McMahon's record on health care in the WWE.

I couldn't find anything other than a link to the Times article on Daily Kos, and I'm not going to post a link to a site without extra content just to try to give an appearance of editorial neutrality. When I was composing this post, TPM Muckraker didn't really give any information that couldn't be found on Politico. However, they posted a bit with 2 comparison videos about an hour ago.
posted by zarq at 9:39 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, just to nitpick:

Reactions to the news from:
* Blumenthal, defending his record. - Google news. Okay.
* FoxNews - right wing news site.
* Daily Caller. - right wing blog.
* Atlantic - right wing blog.


In what universe is the Atlantic Wire a "right wing blog"?

If McMahon's campaign fed this story to the Times and they ran it without doing their own background, the Times is even toolier than I thought.

And yeah, Blumenthal's a self-serving idiot, but who in American politics isn't?
posted by blucevalo at 9:40 AM on May 18, 2010


I fucking hate the state of American politics......
posted by HuronBob at 9:40 AM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


much as everyone "knows" that Al Gore ludicrously claimed to have invented the Internet.

FTFY. The world's much more entertaining when it more closely resembles Futurama.
posted by explosion at 9:41 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Someone needs to call the Democrat version of Karl Rove pronto. If this guy really did speak ambiguously about his military service and ra-ra'ed the troops after having deferred and then taken a cushy domestic Army role, who knows.... he might even make President.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:41 AM on May 18, 2010


XQUZYPHYR: I don't understand this at all. Blumenthal has said openly, repeatedly, that he didn't serve in Vietnam.

Please read the NYT story and watch the video in which he says:
"We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam. And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support."

And as to saying "openly, repeatedly" that he didn't serve in Vietnam — no. Again from the NYT: "...an examination of his remarks at the ceremonies shows that he does not volunteer that his service never took him overseas." His general line is to say that he served in the Marine reserves "during the Vietnam War." That sounds like a deliberate obfuscation intended to make the listener assume that he was there.
posted by beagle at 9:41 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Your "fed the story to the NYT" link is broken. ..or was it pushed?

Dammit. I linked to that page twice and now the campaign has pulled it from their site. Google doesn't cache it, either.
posted by zarq at 9:42 AM on May 18, 2010


There's no doubt, he just misspoke. Or, those who heard him speak about the war could have misheard him and confused the Vietnam war with another war. Maybe he meant the War Against Static Cling? That was a terrible war! Or maybe it was something else. A whole bunch of people fought in the War For TV Ratings, and many people could have just died of hurt pride. Or maybe it was the war he fought to keep his waistline under control. If there's a war out there I bet ol' Bluey fought it in. You naysayers just don't understand war. It's hell.
posted by uraniumwilly at 9:42 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Caputo’s campaign ran to ground...

What Richard Blumenthal Can Learn From Bruce Caputo.
posted by ericb at 9:43 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


IT WAS ALMOST A HALF-CENTURY AGO, AND WE WERE WRONG.

Can't we just let go of this, already?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:43 AM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Blumenthal is holding a press conference at 2 p.m. Eastern.
posted by beagle at 9:48 AM on May 18, 2010


War is hell and so are fact-checkers.
posted by uraniumwilly at 9:49 AM on May 18, 2010


Looks like we've already got our daily dose of snark.

Seriously people, a presumptive United States Senator appears to have just had his entire campaign torpedoed because he pulled the sorts of stunt that you tell college students not to do, i.e "Don't embellish your resume. Someone will find out. Then things will go badly for you."

I don't care what side of the political spectrum, this is news. What you think it means is up to you, but it's still news.
posted by valkyryn at 9:49 AM on May 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


ericb, that's a great article. Nice find.

Smart advice at the end, too:
"I don't think fighting with the New York Times will succeed," said longtime Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. "Fighting with the New York Times is like fighting with the ocean. In the end they are going to win. I think he should get up and say something like, 'I obviously did this. I did it inadvertently. Whether you believe me or not, I am deeply and profoundly sorry because I have tremendous respect for those who served in Vietnam even if I opposed the war.'"

posted by zarq at 9:50 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


So recently, I was sitting in a jury box, waiting to see if I made it through the selection process. In the middle of things, the prosecutor addressed a juror by the wrong juror number, and did not correct herself.

Even more recently, I was watching the Conan O'Brian Q&A at Google, and (while discussing Mr. Burns and The Simpsons) he referred to Mr. Burns as Mr. Simpson, and did not correct himself.

When speaking in front of people, speakers often get into their own head a bit too much, and misspeak without realizing it. And, in such an environment, they are rarely corrected. Putting aside Blumenthal specifically, I think it's to be expected that folks making high-stakes public speeches on a regular basis are going to say incorrect things, often, without realizing their mistake.

Savvy politicians are fully aware of this (being public speakers themselves) and employ people to comb through their opponent's speeches looking for this type of gaffe to use as a weapon. You'd think they would also employ people to witness their speeches, listening for gaffes and signaling so that the politician has a chance to correct the statement in real time. A live continuity person, essentially. Do such people exist in modern politics?
posted by davejay at 9:50 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nobody's mentioned that the 'co-founder' of America's Leader in Fake Fixed Sporting Events is accusing somebody else of lying/being misleading?
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:50 AM on May 18, 2010


Please read the NYT story

I did. See, when I comment on something, that's a response to what I read. Blumenthal has said that he didn't serve in Vietnam. One example is in the NY Times article (that I read):

An aide pointed out that in a different appearance this year, Mr. Blumenthal was forthright about not having gone to war. In a Senate debate in March, he responded to a question about Iran and the use of military force by saying, “Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have seen firsthand the effects of military action, and no one wants it to be the first resort, nor do we want to mortgage the country’s future with a deficit that is ballooning out of control.”

So, umm, yeah. He said he served when he didn't. I know that. That's the point of the FPP. I commented on that. I said it's weird that he's said this, because his contrary statements of not serving negate the accusation that he's "lying" or "covering up" a lack of service. He has openly said he hasn't served.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2010


"We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam," he said in Norwalk, Conn., in March 2008. He's also spoken repeatedly about the way soldiers returning from Vietnam were treated, using the pronoun "we."

"When we returned, we saw nothing like this," he said in Bridgeport in 2003. "Let us do better by this generation of men and women."


I can't believe people are defending this. He flat-out lied about having served in Vietnam. Full stop.

I don't blame anyone who did anything they had to in order to get out of going to Vietnam. College, Canada, having a baby, the reserves, the National Guard, pretending to be gay, whatever. It was a stupid, ugly, immoral war, and I've got no beef with anyone who didn't want to die in the mud halfway around the world for no good reason.

That said, they also have a responsibility to deal with the consequences of their choices responsibly. Going AWOL from the National Guard unit you joined to get out of going to war is dishonorable. So is getting out of serving and then lying about how you spent the war to make yourself look better.

Not to mention that this speaks volumes about Blumenthal's judgment. If you want to lie about being somewhere, pick something hard to fact-check, like Woodstock. He really didn't think anyone would bother to check his military records?
posted by EarBucket at 9:52 AM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I said it's weird that he's said this, because his contrary statements of not serving negate the accusation that he's "lying" or "covering up" a lack of service.

They really don't. Sometimes, people lie, and then later, they tell the truth, or maybe they told the truth earlier. That does not negate anything.
posted by enn at 9:52 AM on May 18, 2010


In what universe is the Atlantic Wire a "right wing blog"?

Sorry, that's The Atlantic. My apologies.

Politico is above the fold and is neutral.

Okay, that one gets a double "Really?" and coffee snorted out my nose.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:53 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's not a lie if the guy's on my side. So, leave Coco alone!!
posted by found missing at 9:54 AM on May 18, 2010


They really don't. Sometimes, people lie, and then later, they tell the truth, or maybe they told the truth earlier. That does not negate anything.

.....What?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:57 AM on May 18, 2010


Wait everybody!

We got the parties mixed up; Blumenthal is a Republican. DESTROY THE LIAR.
posted by codswallop at 9:58 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: DESTROY THE LIAR.
posted by EarBucket at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2010


Okay, that one gets a double "Really?" and coffee snorted out my nose.

I deliberately didn't link to Ben Smith's initial coverage, but rather to an article from the main body of the site because I felt it was objective. If you disagree and believe it is biased, please enlighten me as to where and how.
posted by zarq at 10:01 AM on May 18, 2010


.....What?

Do you have an actual question? If so, you might consider articulating it.

It's not like counting cards in blackjack. One lie plus one true statement does not equal zero lies.
posted by enn at 10:01 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I live in CT. I think this is disastrous for Blumenthal and unless the Democrats can muster a fabulous candidate this means another Republican from New England. The only thing worse than Linda McMahon would be a clone of Joe Lieberman.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:03 AM on May 18, 2010


Oh, and if McMahon chose to roll this out now, what does she have on reserve for November?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:03 AM on May 18, 2010


This boat, she is swift!!
posted by spicynuts at 10:05 AM on May 18, 2010


I said it's weird that he's said this, because his contrary statements of not serving negate the accusation that he's "lying" or "covering up" a lack of service.

Contrary statements confirm that one of the statements is false. I don't get how it is you think that a contradictory statement negates the fact that a prior statement was a lie. In your universe, the most honest politician is one who contradicts everything he says, then?

which the Times was more than happy to pursue with a zeal that I can't help notice was missing during a certain Texas governor's claims of exemplary service in the Air National Guard.

You can't help but notice it because you either weren't paying attention or you have forgotten that 60 Minutes pursued claims about Bush's National Guard service so zealously that they presented as genuine a set of obviously fake documents and irreparably damaged Dan Rather's career in the process.

Journalistic zeal was not lacking during the Bush years.
posted by The World Famous at 10:07 AM on May 18, 2010


I’m more interested in the fact that Linda fucking McMahon is a legitimate contender.

I'm surprised it's in Connecticut, but let's not forget Jesse "The Body"/"Abraxas" Ventura, who beat two major-party candidates to become governor of Minnesota in 1998, following his triumph over the 18-year incumbent mayor of Brooklyn Park, MN in 1990.

If Linda McMahon could survive being drugged by her emotionally abusive husband, and break out of a coma to kick him in the groin, how could she not be worthy of a seat in the senate? Oh, and she helped save WWE money by classifying its wrestlers as "independent contractors" rather than "employees,", sparing the company from providing health insurance and workers' entitlement programs.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on May 18, 2010


he pulled the sorts of stunt that you tell college students not to do, i.e "Don't embellish your resume.

And as always, the mistake wasn't the embellishment, it was not going far enough.

"So, Mr. quin, I see from your resume that you've worked with the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, at Area 51, and that you've been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, twice, despite the fact that you are a civilian."

"That's correct."

"Can I see some paperwork that references this?"

"Of course not. It's all classified. Top level. When I was doing black-ops wet work for the US Postal Service, I was made privy to some information that forced me to expunge a few years from my records for the sake of National Security."

"And you think that this will help you get a job here at Home Depot?"

"I've forgotten more about demolishing the stability of a third world country than you'll ever know. I think I can sell drywall and PVC tubing to DIYers, plus I got pretty handy at fixing stuff in my time spent on the International Space Station."

Follow this an unblinking stare that dares anyone questions your credentials to consider that they might be playing with someone unhinged, and you've got yourself a job.
posted by quin at 10:08 AM on May 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Here's a good bit on McMahon: " A plan formulated by the U.S. Senate campaign of Linda McMahon to pay students an extra $5 for each Republican registered during a voter registration drive at the University of Connecticut next week has drawn questions from election officials, lawmakers and at least one Republican vying for the nomination.."
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:08 AM on May 18, 2010


I can't seem to fit a whole idea in one comment today; the article I linked to above even has my very conservative father-in-law upset with McMahon.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 10:10 AM on May 18, 2010


This reminds me of Danny DeVito's character in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, who always refers to his "time in 'Nam", and the people he was "in the shit with."

By which he means the time he spent in Da Nang in the 1980's running a factory sweatshop.
posted by rokusan at 10:11 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you have an actual question?

Yes. What the fuck does that mean? That was some Rumsfeld-level "evidence of absence is not absence of evidence" rhetoric right there.

Jesus, this is not hard. The accusation of Blumenthal as a "liar" and that his statement was a "lie" implies a conscious intent to... you know, deceive someone. My observation here is NOT that he didn't say something untrue, it's that it's very hard to create a solid deception that you served in Vietnam when you said you didn't. That's my point. I didn't say he never said he served in Vietnam. And I never said that saying something true "negated" saying something false. I said it negated simplistic, one-sided accusations against him.

You don't have to believe his defense as "misspeaking" but you can't fucking ignore the evidence that supports it. It doesn't make what he's said any less stupid or damaging but it doesn't cease to exist, using your very own "blackjack" logic.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:12 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised it's in Connecticut, but let's not forget Jesse "The Body"/"Abraxas" Ventura

Born and raised Minnesotan here, we will never forget "the Body". Interestingly, compared to our slimy-cock-up-governor-dressed-up-as-pleasant-midwestern-sensible-type governor Tim Pawlenty, I miss the Body. Let's not forget, he got us light rail (well . . . kind of).
posted by Think_Long at 10:13 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also....

XQUZYPHYR, if you're going to attack links as biased, you might consider reading them thoroughly to see whether there's actual bias in them, rather than simply assuming the outlet itself is unworthy of a link because it has a negative reputation. The FoxNews article I linked to was even-handed, and included quotes from both GOP and Democratic party representatives. I chose that story to link to over one from CNN, because the latter outlet only quoted a GOP rep. ABC's article on the topic wasn't as extensive.

At least, that's what I found when I compiled this post. Perfectly possible that both CNN and ABC have posted reams of information since then.
posted by zarq at 10:15 AM on May 18, 2010


it's that it's very hard to create a solid deception that you served in Vietnam when you said you didn't.

Is there any reason to believe that, during the event where he falsely told the audience that he served in Vietnam, he then corrected himself and told those people that he had not actually served in Vietnam?

The fact that his deception was not solidly created says nothing about whether his intent was to deceive. Are you saying that, when he said "I served in Vietnam" he didn't want those people to believe that his false statement was true?
posted by The World Famous at 10:16 AM on May 18, 2010


Oh, and if McMahon chose to roll this out now, what does she have on reserve for November?

The fact that she's outing this now, before she or her opponent have been chosen shows that it is an attention stunt, not an october surprize.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:17 AM on May 18, 2010


As a future Connecticut resident as of August this is just incredibly depressing. If I live in a State with Leiberman and McMahon as my two Senators!? Blumenthal better somehow come out of this smelling like roses or drop the hell out.
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:18 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and if McMahon chose to roll this out now, what does she have on reserve for November?

Not necessarily anything. The way her campaign's been playing this has been shockingly unprofessional, gloating about how they leaked the story to the press. If you drop a bomb like this on an opponent, you shut your mouth and lay low while the story plays out for a few news cycles. Between that and paying for voter registrations, it sounds like amateur hour at McMahon HQ.
posted by EarBucket at 10:19 AM on May 18, 2010


XQUZYPHYR, if you're going to attack links as biased, you might consider reading them thoroughly to see whether there's actual bias in them

Fox News article- shifts the focus to Blumenthal "defending against accusations," devotes latter half of story to McMahon campaign comments.

Atlantic links- I already apologized for that.

PW news wire- it's a pro wrestling news site. Yes, Linda McMahon is the GOP candidate but that doesn't mean it provides any legitimate political or news insight.

Daily Caller- right-winger Tucker Carlson's Politico-lite Drudge bait, titles article "reaction to Blumenthal lying." i.e. pushes accusation in the very title.

Republican state senator Kevin Rennie- Republican state senator Kevin Rennie.


Stop accusing people of not reading links. It's beyond juvenile.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:24 AM on May 18, 2010


Okay, that one gets a double "Really?" and coffee snorted out my nose.

I deliberately didn't link to Ben Smith's initial coverage, but rather to an article from the main body of the site because I felt it was objective. If you disagree and believe it is biased, please enlighten me as to where and how.


I'd guess the coffee snort was in response to the general characterization of Politico as "above the fold" and "neutral." It's been noted by many observers that Politico (for all it's efforts to cast itself as an independent and politically neutral observer) actually has a pretty conspicuous right-ward slant in its reporting.

posted by saulgoodman at 10:27 AM on May 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


The fact that his deception was not solidly created says nothing about whether his intent was to deceive. Are you saying that, when he said "I served in Vietnam" he didn't want those people to believe that his false statement was true?

Yes and no. I think there's a host of reasons, which I'm anxious to hear Blumenthal's response to. As some have said, he could have been flowing through a response and naturally avoiding breaking his train of thought. He could have legitimately not realized what he just said. None of these positive for him, but not the same thing as what many are accusing him of.

If you think that's wishy-washy of me fine, but I've spammed this thread and I don't want to derail it by getting into more fights with people. But ultimately, no, I can't imagine any rational person really "wanting to believe his false statement is true" with the clar knowledge that by his own admission it's provably not. The idea that he willingly tried to craft this image makes no sense.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:29 AM on May 18, 2010


Stop accusing people of not reading links. It's beyond juvenile.

How was I to think otherwise after your lazy initial comment? You dismissed the links I posted by saying their sources were biased. Not content. Sources. You then imply the post is biased for including them.

When you make a comment, the onus is on you to make your point. Your intent in this comment was obviously to say that the sites themselves were biased, and therefore, their content was suspect and somehow unworthy of inclusion in this FPP.

You're clarifying your intent 50 comments later, and accusing me of juvenile behavior? Should I ask you then if you read your initial comment before you posted it? :D
posted by zarq at 10:35 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


yeah, because it's so easy to forget little things like, you know, whether one actually was in the biggest war of one's generation or not

what a bullshit artist - don't we have enough of those in washington?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:36 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


When you link to sites like the Daily Caller, which launched a political attack on Obama for eating chicken wings, people may roll their eyes. It's just the way it works.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:38 AM on May 18, 2010


You know, generally speaking, it's about as easy as it's ever going to get being a Democrat running for office right now. The Republican echo chamber has cracks you can drive a truck through, and they are gutting themselves with extraordinarily bloody internecine fighting.

So I am tempted to ask..."WTF, Democrats? Are you complete and total idiots?".

But I already know the answer to that question.
posted by Xoebe at 10:40 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


He probably learned the art of deception when he was fighting the Nazi's during WWII.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:41 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Politico is above the fold and is neutral.

Is this the same Politico that basically just hands some right-wing maniacs the laptop and says "You write it, whatever, we'll put it up"?
posted by nevercalm at 10:46 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fox News article- shifts the focus to Blumenthal "defending against accusations," devotes latter half of story to McMahon campaign comments.

Perhaps you should read the article again. You seem to have missed the prominent quotes from Blumenthal's own campaign manager in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth paragraphs.

And yes, he is defending against accusations. That's what the story is about now.
posted by zarq at 10:46 AM on May 18, 2010


"We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam"

Etc.

There really is no way around this: if the quotes are accurate, he misled people about his military service. He's smart and literate enough to know that "I served in Vietnam" absolutely means he was at least in Vietnam during the war.

That doesn't make him wrong about everything else he says and does. He looks like the sort of hard-working, well-educated liberal I would vote for. He understandably didn’t want to die in a crappy war about nothing, so he worked very hard to avoid it. I'd have done the same thing in his shoes.

But later, instead of saying "I stayed the fuck out of that pointless war so I could do some good with my life," it looks like he saw political value in puffing his military record into something that sounded a lot like he actually ran around dodging bullets and killing foreigners for his Uncle Sam.

You'd call him a liar if he was in a political party you don’t like. Unless his rival turns out to be a producer of pornographic snuff films starring children and kittens, he has already lost. Get another candidate while there's time.
posted by pracowity at 10:48 AM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Walter Sobchak: Those rich fucks! This whole fucking thing... I did not watch my buddies die face down in the muck so that this fucking strumpet...
The Dude: I don't see any connection to Vietnam, Walter.
Walter Sobchak: Well, there isn't a literal connection, Dude.
The Dude: Walter, face it, there isn't any connection.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:52 AM on May 18, 2010


Can anyone up on Connecticut politics speculate as to what would happen if Blumenthal dropped out? I see a Merrick Alpert is polling a very, very distant second in the Democratic primary; are there other candidates who might step in? I haven't lived there in 13 years and the political landscape has presumably changed, excepting the continued presence of Joe fucking Lieberman, who appears to run on pure bile these days and who I expect will be fighting it out with the cockroaches when the rest of us are dust.
posted by enn at 10:57 AM on May 18, 2010


Unless his rival turns out to be a producer of pornographic snuff films starring children and kittens, he has already lost.

Have you seen pro wrestling lately?
posted by electroboy at 11:02 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is Google's cache of http://www.linda2010.com/news/2010/05/in-case-you-missed-it-mcmahon-strikes-blumenthal-in-nyt-article/. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on May 18, 2010 12:47:23 GMT.
posted by IanMorr at 11:03 AM on May 18, 2010


IanMoor, thank you. That's excellent.
posted by zarq at 11:06 AM on May 18, 2010


This is really unfortunate. When I lived in Connecticut, Blumenthal was very well regarded, helping consumers and ordinary folks against corporations and polluters. His ratings went sky high the second he joined the race so he clearly was a popular choice after Dodd decided not to run.

And yes, this claim makes him a liar, something I'm very very sorry to see. I don't recall from my days in Connecticut that he ever claimed to be a Vietnam vet, and I suspect it is one of those claims that began growing in more recent years, sliding from service durng the war to actual participation. Still a lie.

The Times seems to have it in for him, I have to say, first banging him around a few weeks ago for not campaigning well. It's kind of the flip side to the way it likes to kiss the ass of Richard Ravitch.
posted by etaoin at 11:08 AM on May 18, 2010


Oh, and if McMahon chose to roll this out now, what does she have on reserve for November?

The fact that she's outing this now, before she or her opponent have been chosen shows that it is an attention stunt, not an october surprize.


She's crazy like a fox. Blumenthal was a juggernaut she has little to no hope of defeating in the polls in November so she's probably hoping to ding him badly, or maybe even force a withdrawal, before they even get there....CT's primaries for this race are in early August.

Her own competition for her party's nomination is a veteran.
posted by availablelight at 11:11 AM on May 18, 2010


Thought about it some.

I spent a lot of time composing this FPP, and I'm not going to turn the comments here into a "zarq takes on all comers" discussion. If some of you feel the need to threadshit, then that saddens me. But it would be both counterproductive and ultimately derailing for me to repeatedly defend my motives for posting. I created this post with the best of intentions in mind. It would be a pleasant surprise for me if people here chose to consider that when they comment.
posted by zarq at 11:14 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know, McMahon seems to have pretty poor timing.
posted by electroboy at 11:14 AM on May 18, 2010


Unless his rival turns out to be a producer of pornographic snuff films starring children and kittens, he has already lost.

A ha! This is what I was looking for:

WWE Clips Suggest McMahon Condones Necrophilia
posted by electroboy at 11:15 AM on May 18, 2010


Can anyone up on Connecticut politics speculate as to what would happen if Blumenthal dropped out?

There have been some idle speculation about whether Ned Lamont would drop out of the campaign for governor and try for Senator again.
posted by availablelight at 11:16 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


electroboy: "Unless his rival turns out to be a producer of pornographic snuff films starring children and kittens, he has already lost.

Have you seen pro wrestling lately?
"

Ah, you mean the PG TV rating that has been part of the WWE's focus for about 2 years and counting, or were you just going for a generic "HURR HURR PRO WRASSLIN' IS TAWDRY" cheap joke?
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:34 AM on May 18, 2010


Her own competition for her party's nomination is a veteran.

Ah, ha! So there's the reason! If she's going to come out swinging against the actual vet she's got to out "American" him. Outing un-American activities is the tried and true Nixonian Republican strategy. Look how well it worked for Saxby "All-American Douche" Chamblis!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:34 AM on May 18, 2010


Someone needs to call the Democrat version of Karl Rove pronto.

First, you have to invent the Democrat version of Karl Rove.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:50 AM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


"We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam"

can also be parsed as:

"We have learned something important, since the days that I served, in Vietnam"
posted by monospace at 11:55 AM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bloomie gives press conference at closest VFW hall, doesn't apologize.
posted by availablelight at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2010


WWE Clips Suggest McMahon Condones Necrophilia
"Just because the show is "scripted" doesn't mean it's not vile, tasteless, violent, demeaning to women and fueled by steroids. What's stunning is that Linda McMahon and her staff are unable to explain or defend her involvement in a company which produces this kind of sexually explicit and violent programming, yet they still believe she'd be a fine U.S. Senator."
posted by mrgrimm at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2010


I have two thoughts on this:

1) What sort of idiot does Blumenthal have to be to be even slightly ambiguous on a topic that is (sigh) still a huge issue for a lot of people.

2) I can't bloody wait for every one of the Vietnam generation to get too old to run for office so we don't have to deal with more of this crap. The very best thing about the Democratic primaries of 2008 was that regardless of whether the candidate was Obama or Clinton we wouldn't have to hear more crap about Vietnam.
posted by sotonohito at 12:16 PM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't bloody wait for every one of the Vietnam generation to get too old to run for office so we don't have to deal with more of this crap. ..

This isn't really, ultimately, about Vietnam. There are groups on the Web devoted to tracking down people, especially making false claims to medals, many from Vietnam but also other military actions. There are many things to argue about where the war is concerned--I saw someone speculate this morning that these multiple deferrals would annoy the Baby Boomers, which simply isn't true--but Blumenthal's case is about integrity in his own words, not the war. It's the same hypocrisy as the GOPer resigning today because of his affair with a staffer and former Christian radio host. A pox on all of them who can't stand by their principles and simply tell the truth.

posted by etaoin at 12:28 PM on May 18, 2010


This isn't really, ultimately, about Vietnam.

I wouldn't even go so far to say it's really about Blumenthal's integrity or even Blumenthal himself, it's about McMahon trying to score some cheap points and get some air-time with a gotcha story. If she gets to run the Democratic front-runner through the ringer in the process, so much the better from her standpoint.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:36 PM on May 18, 2010




I can't bloody wait for every one of the Vietnam generation to get too old to run for office so we don't have to deal with more of this crap. ..


Don't worry, there are plenty of impostors waiting in the wings to claim a role in the Iraq war(s) as well.
posted by availablelight at 12:40 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is obviously a lead-up to a title-shot at SummerSlam.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:40 PM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Odd that Rob Simmons, who was supposedly at one point the front-runner in the CT GOP primary, not Linda McMahon, is kinda being a shrinking violet on this.
posted by blucevalo at 12:55 PM on May 18, 2010


Odd that Rob Simmons, who was supposedly at one point the front-runner in the CT GOP primary, not Linda McMahon, is kinda being a shrinking violet on this.

It makes Blumenthal look bad, it does not make McMahon look good, so there's no reason for him to come out on this one. Besides he's the real nam vet in this equasion, what does he have to win?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:08 PM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Odd that Rob Simmons, who was supposedly at one point the front-runner in the CT GOP primary, not Linda McMahon, is kinda being a shrinking violet on this.

Not really. Blumenthal gets destroyed, or at least badly weakened, McMahon looks like a tawdry amateur, and Simmons gets to sit back quietly and polish the two bronze stars he earned in Vietnam. The last thing he'd want to do right now is inject himself into this mess; far better to let Blumenthal get all the media attention on this one. The primary isn't until August, and that's plenty of time for him to make a comeback, particularly if McMahon wants to make the race about military service.
posted by EarBucket at 1:09 PM on May 18, 2010


Blumenthal is sort of a POS, so good that he gets called out. Unfortunately, he's also by far the better choice. How sad is that?
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:28 PM on May 18, 2010


Like Spitzer's circumstance, this is kind of a shocking revelation about a person who had appeared to be such a savvy politician. It's almost equally shocking, I think, that he is now trying to minimize his deception as a "wardrobe malf-"...whoops, I mean as "misplaced words." If you read the article, you know this isn't an instance of just one comment on one occasion: This guy deliberately pulled every lever handy to dodge the draft without leaving the country, and then spent years carefully avoiding that story and instead fostering the (false) impression that he was a veteran of the war. That's a lot of "misplaced words" over a lot of years, and it doesn't even begin to address the issue of special treatment in the first place.

The only part that is not surprising is that there are people on MetaFilter claiming Blumenthal didn't lie. I remember when there was a video of President Obama bowing to some Saudi fellow, and everybody was talking about whether it was appropriate or not...except on MetaFilter, where a bunch of people were insisting that he didn't bow. Nevermind that there's a video of him doing it. "Nope, he didn't bow." "Nope, he didn't lie."

By the way: Over in the Rep. Souter thread, I don't notice anybody complaining that the FPP links to MSNBC or Wonkette, both of which are incredibly liberal sites.
posted by cribcage at 3:03 PM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Former Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, a Republican who says he is a good friend of Richard Blumenthal’s, said in an interview Tuesday that he had watched with worry as Mr. Blumenthal gradually embellished his military record over the years.
posted by availablelight at 6:17 PM on May 18, 2010


So I am tempted to ask..."WTF, Democrats? Are you complete and total idiots?".

Democrats are still politicians, and a lot of politicians are in it for the power, and willing to do stupid things to improve their chances of getting it. I mean, ultimately that's one thing all Democrats and Republicans and Independents all have in common, and I remain shocked that they (the politicians and the media) have so successfully managed to convince all of us that their guys are like that, but not us.

You'd think by now, we'd know better. Apparently not.
posted by davejay at 7:12 PM on May 18, 2010


I can't right now see this video - but if he really claimed to serve in Vietnam in public when he didn't using the terms I see here, FIRE HIS ASS and I'd describe my political leanings as "very left".

Now, people make mistakes. I work very hard on my memory and yet I find myself telling stories that happened to other people as though they happened to me - I correct it if I figure it out in time but...

But this isn't a movie he saw or even a class he took at school - this was taking part in a huge fucking war. That's not a "mistake".

I'd also add that it's doubly creepy that he's taking over the Vietnam war - and not using it as a symbol of what's wrong with American military power. I consider that war a great sin - millions died in at least four countries and when it came down to it, Vietnam had done nothing to deserve it. I know quite a few veterans, and the only ones I'm friends with are ones who realized that they took part in a terrible crime - because they were young, dumb, trusted authority and had no idea - I'd say that the Vietnam vets really do have the right to say, "How were we supposed to know?" (as opposed to today where anyone who joins the military really ought to contemplate what happened to Vietnam and how little we have changed...)

So he's jumping in to say, "Yes, I helped with these murders, and I'm proud of it, I don't regret a bit." Bad bad bad.

But generally, lying about big things should be automatic disqualification for political office. Sure, Republicans get away with this stuff all the time but that doesn't mean they should, nor should we spare someone who is supposed to be on our side just because some Republican sometime got away with shit.

I personally think there should be something like RICO where if you are a politician and commit a crime, your sentence is automatically doubled... it'd keep the scum honest, put the fear of God (vox populi, y'know) into them.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:28 PM on May 18, 2010


I just witnessed my Att. General in MA throw the election away, now I'm moving to CT and their Att. General is doing THIS TO ME!?!?!
posted by haveanicesummer at 8:07 PM on May 18, 2010


He stands by "I tell the truth most of the time."
posted by wallstreet1929 at 9:41 PM on May 18, 2010


Former Senator Pressler has his own ax to grind but he makes some interesting points:
posted by Uncle Chaos at 2:32 AM on May 19, 2010


Sorry. The link didn't link. My fault no doubt. I wanted to display Larry Pressler's op-ed in today's New York Times, "The Technicality Generation."
posted by Uncle Chaos at 2:34 AM on May 19, 2010


Here's the link, Uncle Chaos, along with a few salient quotes:
I don’t fault anyone for taking advantage of the law. Where I do find fault is among those who say they were avoiding the draft because they were idealistically opposed to the war — when, in fact, they mostly didn't want to make the sacrifice. The problem is that for every person who won a deferment or a spot in a special National Guard unit, someone poorer or less educated, and usually African-American, had to serve.

...

In private conversations with my classmates, I was told over and over that they didn’t want to serve in the military because it would hold up their careers. To the outside world, though, many would proclaim they weren't going because they were opposed to the war and we should end all wars. Eventually they began to believe their "idealism" was superior to that of those who did serve. They said that it was courageous to resist the draft — something that would have been true if they had actually become conscientious objectors and gone to prison.

...

Now that flawed thinking has been carried forward. Many of these men who evaded service but claimed idealism lead our elite institutions. The concept of using legal technicalities to evade responsibility has been carried over to playing with derivatives, or to short-changing shareholders.
It's a good column, and right.
posted by cribcage at 4:31 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


In what universe is the Atlantic Wire a "right wing blog"?
Sorry, that's The Atlantic. My apologies


Sorry to bring this back up, but now The Atlantic is too right-wing to be a source on MetaFilter? Other than Das Kapital and Chomsky's more lefty works, what else can I use?

posted by yerfatma at 6:03 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The first post-scandal poll is out. Blumenthal's lead has dropped from 52%-39% against McMahon two weeks ago to 48%-45%, and from 55%-32% to 50%-39% against Simmons.
posted by EarBucket at 7:27 AM on May 19, 2010


Somebody else linked this chart in another thread. It's an interesting data point in a conversation about this election.

(If it doesn't load: It's a graph plotting survey results of interest in particular sports against political leanings, and it shows professional wrestling way over on the Democrat side.)
posted by cribcage at 9:08 AM on May 19, 2010


Video shows Blumenthal correctly stating service:
In the same 2008 speech in which he misstated his military service, Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal also correctly said that he "served in the military, during the Vietnam era."
He correctly described his service at the beginning of the same speech that he said he "served in Vietnam," and there is a longer video of the speech that includes his correct description. If the New York Times had the whole video and cherry-picked the "served in Vietnam" quote it'd be quite a hatchet job.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:49 AM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The longer version of the video was posted on Linda McMahon's YouTube channel on May 17.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:53 AM on May 19, 2010


I suspect Blumenthal's likely to survive this, at this point. I don't think his polling numbers on it will get much worse, and he should see some rebounding the farther away from the story we get. If the race had been closer to start with, he'd have been in real trouble, but the nice thing about a 20% lead is that you can take a big hit and still be okay. It'll be a much tougher fight than anyone thought last week, but I think he'll pull it out.
posted by EarBucket at 10:16 AM on May 19, 2010


He correctly described his service at the beginning of the same speech that he said he "served in Vietnam," and there is a longer video of the speech that includes his correct description.

And yet that technically correct description does not contradict the false statement or correct the false impression that he created in his listeners by stating that he served "in Vietnam." While "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" is technically correct, it is also an accurate description of someone who did, in fact, serve "in Vietnam."
posted by The World Famous at 10:27 AM on May 19, 2010


If the New York Times had the whole video and cherry-picked the "served in Vietnam" quote...

If you read the whole article, then you know that the 2008 video was just one piece in a documented pattern of misrepresentations ("the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life") (emphasis added). You also know that what he actually did during the Vietnam era is problematic; the fact that he portrays it dishonestly just makes it worse.
posted by cribcage at 10:44 AM on May 19, 2010


And yet that technically correct description does not contradict the false statement or correct the false impression that he created in his listeners by stating that he served 'in Vietnam.'

I think you have it backwards. At the beginning of the speech he said he "served in the military, during the Vietnam era." Then later in the same speech he said he "served in Vietnam."
posted by kirkaracha at 12:25 PM on May 19, 2010


If you read the whole article, then you know that the 2008 video was just one piece in a documented pattern of misrepresentations

"A documented pattern?" Really? Do you mean mentioned in this single NY Times article? I'm asking because if you mean a different context of "documented" here I'd prefer to be corrected. If not, then your defense of the NY Times hiding an element to a story that negates the theme of said story is that we should trust the rest of the article? What a perfect example of how a shoddy story becomes "invented the internet" in less than 24 hours.

And yes, the lovely "did you read the article?" snottiness again. Okay, did you read the article? I mean really read it? Because if you did, you would note that the video- again, the edited, contradictory-in-point video- is the only actual concrete example of Blumenthal personally saying an untrue statement. Following the Norwalk story they mention a quote from 2003 using "we" in context of soldiers returning, to a collective of military families. At best, debatable. Next example is a 2005 moment when he says something true. The next set of examples? Other news articles that were wrong. The next one after that? A lady saying what she remembers him saying. And then... a website getting its facts wrong. Does anyone else see the mind-boggling irony in that this article now gives more examples of the media fucking up Blumenthal's history than Blumenthal?

"Documented?" Yeah.... no. Talking to Chris Shays and getting anecdotes from voters is not "documenting." That's called "background." That's what's used to support the main evidential point, which was the documented video of Blumenthal, that has now been revealed as edited to hide a significant contrary point. The NY Times has some explaining to do about some really, really shitty "documenting."

Occam's Razor posits the reason for this omission is painfully shoddy reporting- The Times is clearly now exposed as having been spoon-fed oppo from the McMahon campaign without bothering to do the necessary additional research into it. There are two possibilities here- they either had the short clip of the video which proves they just took what was handed to them by an opponent of Blumenthal, or they had the full video, knew it contained a segment that refutes their own premise, and ignored it.

And so, I'll return to my original point. Blumenthal has a difficult road ahead removing the foot he has lodged very deep in his mouth. But if you are still accepting the kneejerk notion that Blumenthal is deliberately trying to deceive people into believing he served in Vietnam, either you're nuts or you think Blumenthal is. Because lunacy on behalf on one side of the argument is the only way to translate the idea that you are trying to convince people you served in Vietnam when you said you didn't in the same goddamn speech.

Meanwhile, we've just let the Republican Party convince us that someone said they invented the internet. "It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes. " Fuck you, New York Times.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:54 PM on May 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Technically his statement(s) is(are) now documented in the NY Times. SEE documented evidence!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:02 PM on May 19, 2010


I think you have it backwards. At the beginning of the speech he said he "served in the military, during the Vietnam era." Then later in the same speech he said he "served in Vietnam."

At the beginning of the speech, he vaguely referred to service during the Vietnam era. Then, later in the speech, he clarified that vague statement by specifically stating that he served in Vietnam. The two are not contradictory statements. The second is a flat-out falsehood that turns the first into a misleading statement, at best.
posted by The World Famous at 1:08 PM on May 19, 2010


Slate: Missed Saigon
With that, Blumenthal settled at least one question: He doesn't appear to be backing down in the Connecticut Senate race.
...
It helps that the evidence isn't exactly conclusive. It turns on the intent of individual words. The Times found one instance of Blumenthal saying he served "in Vietnam." But he also said explicitly in a recent debate that "I did not serve in Vietnam." In another quote, he seemed to include himself among veterans who came back from Vietnam: "When we returned, we saw nothing like this. Let us do better by this generation of men and women." But at a 2008 ceremony for veterans, he said, accurately: "I served during the Vietnam era. I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse."

Blumenthal may not have deliberately made false statements. But the main charge in the Times story—that "he does not volunteer that his service never took him overseas"—is a sin of omission, not commission. Between 1965 and 1970, Blumenthal received at least five deferments and then served six years in the Marine Corps Reserve.

At today's press conference, Blumenthal continued to play word games. He said he "misspoke" when he used the word "in" instead of "during" Vietnam. When a reporter asked him what he meant by "misspoke," Blumenthal's response sounded as if it had been vetted by a team of lawyers, PR reps, crisis communications experts, and lawyers again for good measure: "I was unaware of those misplaced words when they were spoken." Responsibility must be taken, just not in the active voice.

Blumenthal's lying, misspeaking—whatever you want to call it—says as much about the world politicians inhabit as it does about Blumenthal's motivations. Fudging isn't just common—it's necessary.

posted by zarq at 1:28 PM on May 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


But if you are still accepting the kneejerk notion that Blumenthal is deliberately trying to deceive people into believing he served in Vietnam, either you're nuts or you think Blumenthal is.

I'm happy to agree to disagree about the Times article—because honestly, after reading your assessment of it, I think you're either too partisan to see clearly (likely, particularly given your loud protest to the links here but not those in the Souter thread) or else flat-out nuts. So we'll call the feeling mutual and leave it at that. What's left is how Blumenthal has handled this incident (e.g., "misplaced words") and the fact that he pulled every gilded string he could to avoid serving in Vietnam in the first place. And if you see those and think he belongs in public office...well, then so be it.
posted by cribcage at 2:12 PM on May 19, 2010


New York Times Defends Blumenthal Story, Won't Say Whether It Viewed Full Clip.
posted by ericb at 4:33 PM on May 19, 2010


The fact that he described his service accurately in the same speech increases the likelihood that he simply misspoke and was not trying to deceive later. The fact that in other speeches he described his service correctly increases the likelihood that he simply misspoke when he said otherwise.

Obama once said that he had visited 57 states, he misspoke. It isn't being too partisan to point that out, it's an extremely likely and logical conclusion. The fact that the Times got their story directly from a political opponent and decided to cherrypick the video to make him look worse does not inspire confidence in me that they are living up to high journalistic standards. Who is trying to be deceptive here?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:05 PM on May 19, 2010


from zarq's link:

When a reporter asked if he would have voted for TARP, he turned to an aide and asked, "Have I taken a position on this?"

Sure, the media coverage was poor and biased. But get the bum out anyway and find a decent candidate.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:12 AM on May 20, 2010


What bothers me about this post, zarq, is that as others have demonstrated there's a significant controversy about whether those reporting on the story have represented it fairly but none of the supporting links you chose mention that at all. Whichever side of it you agree with, it's a major element of the story that's getting limited airplay. To not include that viewpoint is disingenuous at best. That's my objection.
posted by scalefree at 4:54 PM on May 22, 2010


New York Times Ombudsman weighs in on the Blumenthal article.
posted by zarq at 9:12 PM on May 22, 2010


What bothers me about this post, zarq, is that as others have demonstrated there's a significant controversy about whether those reporting on the story have represented it fairly

Please note the date on this post, then read the comments in order.

I made this post on May 18th.

There was no controversy in the media regarding whether the Times reported the story accurately on May 18th. It was apparently assumed by every news outlet that they had. At most, some articles at that point in time were discussing the ethical appropriateness of the Times taking a story about a candidate that had been fed to them by his opposition campaign. But at the time, the article seemed adequately researched -- they went into his draft records, etc.

The controversy you are referring to arose on May 19th, when the full video was noticed by those in the media who were examining the Times' story. That has since become the focus of this story.

That's my objection.

Sadly, I lack the ability to link to stories before they have actually been written and posted on the 'net.
posted by zarq at 9:25 PM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Huh. Apparently, Simmons is dropping out of the race. That's excellent news for Blumenthal, if it's true.
posted by EarBucket at 4:42 AM on May 25, 2010


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