Political Capitol

Brian Lockhart covers the Connecticut General Assembly in Hartford

Who’s worse: A candidate who fudges military service or one who gloats about the story?

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And this is why people are so cynical about politics and politicians.

Just a few hours after the New York Times made waves in the Connecticut Senate race with a potentially devastating piece questioning whether Democratic contender Richard Blumenthal has mislead the public on his military service, Republican opponent Linda McMahon’s campaign shot out the following e-mail TAKING CREDIT FOR IT.

It’s a first, at least in my limited history of covering politics. Usually campaigns feed ideas to the media and then try to take advantage of the fall out without actually having a story traced back to them.

But McMahon’s e-mail advertises Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie’s “Daily Ructions” blog in which Rennie explains her self-funded campaign delivered the story to the Times on a platter.

Yay. So we have one candidate who might have intentionally puffed up his military record in order to score points with voters, and another who has baggage of her own (World Wrestling Entertainment, sex and steroids, anyone?) taking a public victory lap over the part her campaign played in the Times’ piece.

It’s a clear signal to all those Republican insiders who will be at the nominating convention this weekend that they don’t have to worry about the WWE maven’s ability to wage war against the popular Blumenthal.

But McMahon’s like a private detective who hands Connecticut an incriminating file on the state’s husband of over 20 years and then asks: “Sooooo, Connecticut. Now that I’ve told you the truth about Dick and you’re falling out of love, are you busy Friday night?”

Connecticut voters must feel so blessed these are two of their leading candidates …

Here’s the McMahon e-mail:

  

 

In Case You Missed It: McMahon Strikes Blumenthal In NYT Article

 

“The Blumenthal Bombshell Comes At The End Of More Than 2 Months Of Deep, Persistent Research By Republican Linda McMahon’s Senate Campaign.  It Gave The Explosive Norwalk Video Recording To The Times.  This Is What Comes Of  $16 Million, A Crack Opposition Research Operation And An Opponent Who, In The Words Of The President Blumenthal Worked For On A Draft Deferment, Who Gave Them The Sword.”

Daily Ructions   McMahon Strikes. Turns Blumenthal into Bruce Caputo.Daily Ructions BlogBy Kevin RennieMonday, May 17, 2010
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s campaign for the United States Senate has been holed below the waterline by a devastating New York Times expose of Blumenthal’s false claims to have served in Vietnam.  The piece, fed to the paper by the Linda McMahon Senate campaign, is accompanied by a chilling 2008 video of Blumenthal blithely making the false claim.  The “brilliant” Blumenthal provides a stunningly inadequate response, with the universal weasel word “misspoken” appearing in the piece.  It’s followed by a non-sequitur quote: “’My intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward, out of respect to the veterans who served in Vietnam,’ he said.”Somewhere, Tim Russert is smirking.  In 1981, Russert was working for New York Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was facing a challenge from rising freshman Republican Congressman Bruce Caputo.  Caputo had made claims of army service during the Vietnam War that were nearly as false as Blumenthal’s.  He was forced to withdraw from the race with dispatch.The Blumenthal Bombshell comes at the end of more than 2 months of deep, persistent research by Republican Linda McMahon’s Senate campaign.  It gave the explosive Norwalk video recording to The Times.  This is what comes of  $16 million, a crack opposition research operation and an opponent who, in the words of the president Blumenthal worked for on a draft deferment, who gave them the sword.Panicked Connecticut Democrats will crash cellphone networks between tonight and Friday trying to decide if they can jettison Blumenthal and have a chance to hold the Democratic seat in November.
Categories: General
Brian Lockhart