The Progressive Defense of Richard Blumenthal

Mika Brzezinski, the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” believes the New York Times is being unfair to Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s popular and aggressive attorney general, and a front-runner for the state’s open Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Christopher Dodd. The Times story Monday night detailed a series of past Blumenthal statements insinuating that he had served in Vietnam.

Howard Dean on Wednesday took the New York Times to task for running a “hatchet job” story on Blumenthal misstating his service in Vietnam without acknowledging that the information came from a GOP campaign. Dean, in a Tuesday interview with “Morning Joe,” said the story amounted to little more that “gotcha” journalism.

“Let’s be fair about this. This is a New York Times gotcha story planted by the opposition,” said Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “It was planned by the opposition. The New York Times did not acknowledge that in their front page article.”

Today, Ms. Brzezinski, again chided the Times for releasing a film clip showing Blumenthal saying, that while the clip released by the New York Times shows Blumenthal clearly saying that “we’ve learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” that in a longer version has an earlier reference to the fact that he served during the Vietnam era. Brzezinski said she thinks the Times should have to make clear of that fact. She said she also believes that the Times should have to state in their report where they got the material which they used for the front page article.

The Blumenthal campaign and Democrats in Washington have attacked the Times for the story, which Republican Linda McMahon’s campaign has admitted originated with their opposition research.

Times spokeswoman Diane McNulty indicated that the paper is not backing down from its story.

“The New York Times in its reporting uncovered Mr. Blumenthal’s long and well established pattern of misleading his constituents about his Vietnam War service, which he acknowledged in an interview with The Times,” McNulty said. “Mr. Blumenthal needs to be candid with his constituents about whether he went to Vietnam or not, since his official military records clearly indicate he did not.”

“The longer version of the video doesn’t change the story,” she added. “Saying that he served ‘during Vietnam’ does not contradict or override his later, more specific, statement that he served in Vietnam.”

After the story broke Monday night, Blumenthal gave a dramatic and defiant press conference Tuesday at a VFW hall in West Hartford where he accepted “full responsibility” for his misstatements, but did not offer an apology.

Richard Blumenthal has a problem. He’s running for the U.S. Senate, and he’s been caught on video implying falsely that he served in Vietnam. In at least eight newspaper articles published in Connecticut from 2003 to 2009, he is described as having served in Vietnam. It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes. Then he holds a press conference in rebuttal to the reports at a VFW hall. Mr. Blumenthal is not, nor is he eligible to be, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars because he wouldn’t meet the eligibility requirement because he didn’t actually serve in a theatre of combat.

Blumenthal has fallen dramatically in the polls since the story broke and that has his liberal friends working hard to turn the spotlight off. It is interesting that the people who question the article in the Times and suggest they should have been clear of where they got the story don’t have a problem when the same news outlet is trashing a conservative or printing classified information. One might call this hypocritical on the part of the Progressives. I would call it typical.

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