During a recent Connecticut Senate debate, Republican candidate Linda McMahon asked her Democratic opponent, state attorney general Richard Blumenthal, how one creates a job. His answer:
An extraordinary thing happened on MSNBC Tuesday: Chris Matthews scolded a fellow liberal journalist for endorsing all of the Democrat candidates up for election in the Senate this November.
While discussing the battle between Republican candidate Linda McMahon and Democrat candidate Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut, the "Hardball" host expressed serious concerns about the latter lying about his military service.
After playing a tape from Monday's debate of Blumenthal haplessly trying to explain his position, Matthews asked liberal guest David Corn, "How do you say you served in Vietnam unintentionally when they`ve got the quotes?"Quite surprisingly, Matthews aggressively took exception with Corn's answer (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The Media Research Center president noted the most apt parallel to Richard Blumenthal was Bruce Caputo, a Republican who ran for U.S. Senate in the 1980s, only to drop out after Tim Russert -- then a staffer for Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- found that Caputo had falsely claimed to have been drafted during the Vietnam War.
At that time, "the media were relentless" against Caputo after the revelation and "it was the end of his career," Bozell noted, contrasting that with last week's Blumenthal story which to the mainstream media came and went as a "one-night story."
For the full interview, click play on the embed above at right.
While credit is due the New York Times for breaking the story, the network evening newscasts "ran it one night, and then they walked away from it," the Media Research Center president noted, adding by way of contrast that when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (R) got entangled in his web of lies, "they were on him relentlessly,as they should have been."
But Bozell added of Blumenthal, "this guy's a liberal Democrat, and [so] they walk away."
For the full segment's video, click the play button in the embed at right. You can find the MP3 audio available here.
Harwood began his Blumenthal defense with a barroom analogy: "the occasions where he was loose is more akin to a guy who had a few too many at the bar and hit on somebody rather than somebody actually trying to slip a mickey into the girls drink." He later added this lame defense: that even if Blumenthal lied to the veterans groups about his record, they weren't deceived by it. "Were all those veterans groups fooled by it?", asked Harwood, implying they weren't. "You're a reporter, you go ask them," snapped Scarborough.
Scarborough later pointed out that Blumenthal lied and trafficked on the valor of others on precisely those occasions when, appearing before veterans groups, it would benefit him politically. Harwood miscast Joe's criticism of Blumenthal as a demand that all candidates explain why they didn't serve. A peeved Scarborough called Harwood out: "John, I don't know show, what feed you're listening to."
Ratigan dismissed a quote the Times used of Blumenthal referring to "the days that I served in Vietnam," claiming it was "only part of the story." Ratigan argued: "A longer clip from the same speech shows Blumenthal much more accurately describing his record." That longer clip included Blumenthal vaguely stating: "I really want to add my words of thanks as someone who served in the military during the Vietnam era in the Marine Corps." Hardly a statement that would have corrected the record for the audience.
Even so, Ratigan proclaimed: "This seems to support Blumenthal's explanation that he simply misspoke during that part of the speech, and on a few other occasions cited by the Times." Ratigan went on to declare: "Also undercutting the Times, word that Blumenthal's Senate rival, Linda McMahon, yes, from pro wrestling, admits that her campaign helped with The New York Times story, including gathering that evidence."
David Brooks seemed to be having a coherency challenged moment during his latest scheduled conversation with fellow New York Times columnist, Gail Collins. First Brooks excused what Connecticut senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal falsely claimed about being a Vietnam combat veteran as an "accident":
As for Blumenthal, my guess is he survives his little brush with mendacity. The Connecticut Democrat accidentally said he was a combat veteran, when in fact he never served in Vietnam. Could happen to anyone!
A moment later, Brooks reversed course and admitted that Blumenthal lied but, eh, no big deal:
The claim is dishonorable, but everybody expects politicians to lie. One of the odd perplexities of an angry moment is that expectations are so low, politicians end up surviving scandals that would kill them in happier times.
On the PBS NewsHour last night, anchor Judy Woodruff reported on Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal’s lies that he served in Vietnam, but reported with a straight face that he didn’t lie on every occasion: "In fact, on a number of occasions, Blumenthal has correctly stated his record, including at a debate last March, seen in this clip posted on YouTube."
This may sound like "the pilot usually didn't crash the plane." But this was merely a prelude to Woodruff’s interview with Christopher Keating of the liberal Hartford Courant newspaper, who aggressively worked on the damage control squad for Blumenthal. Keating oozed that "his defenders say they will give him the benefit of the doubt, and, clearly, obviously, the veterans who said that he has been to more funerals than probably literally any politician in the state of Connecticut, including the governor -- almost any time that somebody is killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, Blumenthal is there."
Keating’s first defense was that he never heard Blumenthal lie about this before – and he didn’t say lie, he offered Blumenthal’s own weasel word, "misspeak" – and neither had his political opponents, through "almost hundreds" of events:
Even though The New York Times exposed Blumenthal yesterday in an article on its front page, presenting evidence that the Connecticut Attorney General made no effort to correct numerous news stories over several years that described him as a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, Brzezinski told co-host Joe Scarborough to “leave him alone.”
Brzezinski grimaced, squirmed, and shook her head in disapproval while Scarborough and MSNBC’s Willie Geist ridiculed Blumenthal for attempting to characterize the discrepancies as “a few misplaced words” at a press conference yesterday.
“It was a few misplaced words,” insisted Brzezinski, parroting Blumenthal’s defense.
Well, that's rich. I wonder how the folks at the New York Times, which prepared the 2,100-word article ("Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History") to which the AP refers, feel about their august publication being called merely "a newspaper"? Or about the Blumenthal campaign press release disguised as a news report the wire service's Susan Haigh put forth yesterday? Or is there more going on?
As to Blumenthal's "dispute," here's a clue for both the AP and the Nutmeg State's AG: There is no "dispute." There are only these facts and direct quotes:
CBS's Early Show on Tuesday completely ignored the front page New York Times story on Democratic senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal and his claims to have "served in Vietnam," despite having never done so.
NBC's Today mentioned the subject once in a news brief, but anchor Ann Curry described the Connecticut Democrat only as a "U.S. Senate candidate." On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos described the development as a "huge story."
Yet, the show devoted less than a minute to the topic. Unlike the Early Show, however, Stephanopoulos at least used a party label, explaining that "this was considered a safe Democratic seat. Now, it could be in play."
Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck has already shown he's a rating success and is leaving a mark in cable news. However, he may have pulled one of his most successful performances yet.
Beck interviewed Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on his March 30 broadcast. But, the radio and TV host took the opportunity to tell Blumenthal what he thought of his investigation into the bonuses received by American International Group (AIG) executives - whose company received federal bailout money.
"Look, you know what you have done, know what you have done?" Beck said. "You have - you are an insult to George Washington, sir. George Washington made it very clear that we are a respecter of laws, not of men. For your own political gain, you have decided to go after these people at AIG because it is a popular thing."