Richard Blumenthal apologized Sunday night for falsely suggesting that he saw combat in the Vietnam War.
Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general who’s running for Chris Dodd’s Senate seat, served in the Marine Reserves during the war but was never sent overseas. A New York Times story published last week reported that, on several occasions, Blumenthal had suggested he was there, going so far as to say “I served in Vietnam.”
“At times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves,” Blumenthal said in a statement emailed to the Hartford Courant Sunday night. “I have firmly and clearly expressed regret and taken responsibility for my words.”
“I have made mistakes and I am sorry. I truly regret offending anyone,” he said. “I will always champion the cause of Connecticut’s and our nation’s veterans.”
At a press conference the day after the story ran, Blumenthal refused to apologize, saying instead, “I regret that I misspoke and I take full responsibility.” When a reporter asked if he would offer an apology, several of the veterans flanking Blumenthal yelled, “No!”
The state Democratic Party this weekend overwhelmingly endorsed Blumenthal for Senate. He will face either Linda McMahon, who has taken credit for tipping the Times to the Vietnam story, or Rob Simmons, a Vietnam veteran with two Bronze Stars. The state Republicans nominated McMahon for the seat, but Simmons got enough votes to force a primary.
Late update: The New Haven Independent gets Blumenthal apologizing on video at an event opening a shelter for homeless veterans.