Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said this afternoon that he “misspoke” when he said he served in Vietnam, saying the comments were “absolutely unintentional.”
“On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I take full responsibility. But I will not let anyone take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country,” he said during a press conference today, surrounded by veterans who occasionally called out “Oorah! and “Semper fi.”
Blumenthal, a Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate, served in the Marine Reserves during the Vietnam War and was never deployed overseas. The New York Times reported last night that Blumenthal had, at times, said he served “in Vietnam” and otherwise suggested that he saw active duty.
He said it was a slip of the tongue: “‘In’ instead of ‘during,’” he said; he served “during” the Vietnam War.
“I am proud of my service in the United States Marine Corps Reserve,” Blumenthal said. He said he left the White House, where he was working for Daniel Patrick Moynihan, to enlist with the reserve. He said there were no “special favors” in his enlisting, but rather that he looked up his recruiter in the phone book.
He attacked the Times, saying their story “denigrates service in the reserves.”
A reporter asked at one point if Blumenthal would apologize. After the veterans around him yelled, “No!” Blumenthal said only, “I regret that I misspoke and I take full responsibility.”
Blumenthal held the press conference at a VFW hall in West Hartford, Conn. Before the conference, one of his Republican opponents, Rob Simmons — who did serve in Vietnam, earning two Bronze Stars — said on Fox News that he found it “offensive” that Blumenthal would hold the event there.