While Blumenthal Retains Washington Support, Republicans Smell Opening in CT

Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, once thought to be a shoo-in for the seat being vacated by Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT, finds himself on the political ropes after a newspaper exposed a past incorrect statement regarding his service in Vietnam, and Republicans smell an opening.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, who heads the GOP campaign committee, said Tuesday, "I think it's a blockbuster revelation," and predicted, "I think it's definitely going to make that race more competitive."

Blumenthal's campaign disputed a report in the New York Times as an "outrageous distortion" of his service in the Marines - six months on Paris Island and six years in the reserves, according to his campaign.  The A.G., according to the Times, said he had misspoken at a 2008 event in Norfolk in which he said he had served in Vietnam.

At that March 2 event, which can be found here on You Tube, Blumenthal, advocating for troops returning from war, clearly says, "We have learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam...whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it 'Afghanistan or Iraq, we owe our military men and women unconditional support."

Cornyn's Democratic campaign counterpart, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, Tuesday offered a critical vote of confidence in the attorney general, saying his lifetime of support for veterans is what really matters.

"I think he's corrected the record in the past. I think his actions standing up for veterans for a long time speaks volumes," Menendez said, "I'm sure he will continue to stay in the race...and we'll continue to support him."

Dodd, who faced an onslaught of criticism for his involvement with now-defunct Countrywide mortgage broker, among other problems, quickly scuttled his re-election plans in order to make way for the exceedingly popular Blumenthal, when it was clear in polls that Dodd was not likely to win his race.

Blumenthal will face the winner of the GOP primary on August 10 - either former Cong. Rob Simmons, himself a Vietnam vet, or former WWE wrestling executive Linda McMahon.

The attorney general is scheduled to appear at a news conference later today with veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in West Hartford.