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Hannity

Vietnam Veterans Blast Blumenthal's Blunder

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 19, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: The shocking revelation that Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal lied about his service in Vietnam has shaken his campaign to its core. But tonight, well, we take you on a walk down memory lane. After all, this is not the first time that a prominent Democrat has distorted his record.

Now we all remember the controversy that swirled around Massachusetts Senator John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign. Now did he throw his medals away during a protest in 1971? Were his allegations about his fellow soldiers brutally slaughtering civilians true?

Now it was a controversy that few will ever forget, but John Kerry is not alone. A scandal similar to the one facing Richard Blumenthal once rocked Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. A scathing Wall Street Journal article published in 1991 revealed a number of stories that Harkin told about his service, well, weren't exactly accurate.

Now Harkin, who was running for president when the article was published, often told people that he served for, quote, "eight years, eight months and eight days" as a Navy pilot. However, according to the Journal, he served only five years on active duty.

Now he also used to claim that he flew combat air patrols in Vietnam. But years later he was forced to admit that he never flew combat air patrols in the country. And when it was all said and done, in the spirit of Richard Blumenthal, Harkin tried to explain it all by simply uttering the words, quote, "Well, maybe I didn't say it right."

And joining me now with reaction is the former secretary of Veterans Affairs, chair of the RNC and Vietnam veteran, Jim Nicholson. Also the author of the book, "Stolen Valor," B.G. Burkett is here as well.

Gentlemen, welcome to "Hannity."

B.G. BURKETT, "STOLEN VALOR" AUTHOR: Thank you.

JIM NICHOLSON, VIETNAM VETERAN: Good to be with you, Sean.

HANNITY: All right, Jim or — do either of you believe the spin of Blumenthal? Either one of you. Jim?

NICHOLSON: No, not at all. I mean it's preposterous. The guy is a trained lawyer. He's very precise about what he says, always has been. And he just, for some reason, you know, padded his resume. Felt he need (sic) to embellish his service.

He did serve in the reserve. You have to respect that. But he didn't serve in Vietnam. It is an affront to all of us who did. And even more seriously than that, Sean, is that it says a great deal about his character or lack thereof.

If the guy is going to embellish this for no apparent reason, he's going to lie about this, what else is he lying about? Or what else is he going to lie about? And people like that or — they're just not fit for high public service.

HANNITY: Yes.

NICHOLSON: And we're trying to reestablish ethics and morals and integrity in our society. He's not a fit.

HANNITY: Very good point. Mr. Burkett, you know, the things that he said, I mean, this is — it's beyond — it doesn't — it doesn't make the smell test to me. He said, "We've learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam. When we returned we saw nothing like this public support. Let us do better by this generation of men and women… When we returned from Vietnam, I remember the taunts, the verbal assaults, even the physical abuse we encountered."

And I just — I watched him yesterday and I saw groups of veterans around him supporting him. But I don't believe a single word of it. And the question here is, is he even fit for the office that he currently has?

BURKETT: Well, you know, Sean— and I agree with Jim. Every man whoever goes off to war says good-bye to his family and it's the loneliest time in your life because you don't know whether you're coming back.

You get to the war zone and all you can depend on is the man on your left, the man on your right, and they depend on you. And in my war, Jim's war, over 58,000 Americans died, you know, for their loyalty to America. And for Blumenthal to claim that he served shoulder to shoulder with those men is just totally despicable to me. It's like stealing from the dead. It's a form of sacrilege.

HANNITY: Yes, but —

BURKETT: And, you know, here he is. Well, you know, here he is the chief law enforcement officer of his state and he persecutes people — or prosecutes people for lying and yet he seems to be willing to lie whenever it politically suits him.

HANNITY: All right, but now, interestingly, look, Jim, you were in the world of politics for a long time. He's got the support of the DSCC and Menendez. He's got the support of Chris Dodd.

I haven't heard a single Democrat say that he should step down or get out of the race. I can't imagine that if this were a Republican they'd get — the public would buy this excuse of his. He's a chronic liar.

So do you think this — more political fallout here?

NICHOLSON: Well, you know, the politics of it are very important. But it goes beyond that. I mean it's a real affront, as Judd (ph), to all veterans especially those that served in this war that he claimed that he also served in.

But it also I think calls for the leadership of his party to ask him to step aside. I mean this is serious. I mean he's — the counterpart, the job he seeks there, Senator Lieberman, whom I do not always agree with, but, you know, he's a paragon of integrity and integrity takes courage.

And this guy lied when there was no purpose for it. So what's he going to do if he went to the Senate and he's really cornered on something. And, you know, he's not to be trusted. And that is a qualification for high office today in America or it should be. I think the people of Connecticut will demand that ultimately. The party leaders be damned, but the people in Connecticut, I think have been offended, the veterans have been demeaned, and I just don't think that they're going to let this guy continue to do this or certainly they're not going to elect him to this office.

HANNITY: He's lost about 10 points in the latest Rasmussen poll. We'll have Linda McMahon on this program tomorrow and we'll get her take and we'll see — we'll watch this race which I think opens up the door for the Republicans if he stays in it.

Gentlemen, thank you not only for being here, thank you for your great service to your country.

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