Well, technically it’s not their fault. Richard Blumenthal’s the guy who put his foot in his mouth. But if these folks hadn’t INVITED him to their event in the first place…
So here’s the deal. That infamous video posted by the New York Times of Attorney General Richard Blumenthal falsely claiming (he says mistakenly, his critics say it’s a pattern) about serving in Vietnam?
The Times only referred to it in the accompanying story vaguely as a March, 2008 ceremony in Norwalk “honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas.”
And there is nothing in the video itself to identify where the ceremony was held, why or by whom.
Well, mystery solved. According to the March 7, 2008 issue of the weekly Norwalk Citizen News (which is now a Hearst sister paper of the Stamford Advocate, where I technically work) Blumenthal was speaking at a recognition ceremony the prior Sunday at The Marvin senior housing development.
Specifically Marvin residents since 2005 had been sewing handmade fleece blankets for wounded service personnel in the United States and abroad, and had just completed their 1,000th blanket.
The Citizen News did not make any mention of Blumenthal but two other local elected officials who were quoted in the article – state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk and Norwalk Republican Mayor Richard Moccia – confirmed that was the setting for the controversial comments which two years later have come back to haunt Blumenthal’s bid for U.S. Senate.
“It was a nice event. Lot of people there,” said Duff, who immediately recognized the setting when he watched the video.
But Duff said he did not recall what Blumenthal said and did not know who taped the festivities.
Moccia said he had not watched the video but knew immediately what I was referring to.
“The Times called me and said ‘do you remember what he (Blumenthal) said?’ I said I don’t even remember what I said two years ago,” Moccia told me. “I knew he was there, I knew he talked about his service in the Marines. I don’t know if he said he was in Vietnam, not in Vietnam.”
So there you have it. Blumenthal attends a simple blanket ceremony and now stands accused of, well, wrapping himself in a blanket of lies. Yes, I went there. Sorry. Couldn’t help it.
UPDATE: Just spoke a little while ago to Mary Windt, The Marvin’s executive director, who said she feels awful about what was supposed to be a non-partisan event getting caught up in a national political controversy.
“I went on-line and saw the video. I have no idea how they got it,” said Windt.
She did confirm the video was made by The Marvin and distributed to the various politicians who attended the ceremony – Blumenthal, Duff, Moccia, House Minority Leader Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk (a Simmons backer), state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, then-Republican U.S. Congressman Chris Shays (who today is telling the press he has witnessed Blumenthal exaggerating his record at other events).
“And there may have been some residents’ families who had videos, but really nobody looked at this in two years,” Windt said.