CORRECTED – U.S. Senate candidate under fire over war record

(Corrects paragraph ten to show that Connecticut primary
elections will be held Aug 10, not Aug 9)

* Admits “misplaced” references to military service

* Democrat seat of retiring Senator Dodd at risk

By Ros Krasny

BOSTON, May 18 (BestGrowthStock) – The Democrat favored to win a
U.S. Senate seat for Connecticut said on Tuesday he had used
“misplaced words” about his Vietnam War service but never meant
to deceive voters about his military record.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was the early
favorite to succeed retiring fellow Democrat Christopher Dodd,
but questions about his war record could help Republicans pick
up a Senate seat as they try to regain control of Congress in
November’s elections.

Blumenthal came under fire after the New York Times quoted
him in a speech saying he “served in Vietnam” and posted the
audio on its website.

Blumenthal got several military deferments in the late
1960s and in 1970 joined a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve unit but
did not go to Vietnam, the newspaper found.

“I will not allow anyone to take those misplaced words and
impugn my record of service to this country,” Blumenthal said
at a news conference in West Hartford, Connecticut, where he
flanked himself with veterans.

Blumenthal said he has tried to describe himself as a
reservist during the Vietnam era, but the Times uncovered
quotes sounding as though he had been to and returned home from
the war.

The controversy could throw a wrench in the race that had
Blumenthal, a popular Democrat, favored to win Dodd’s seat.

Military service has plagued many a U.S. politician.
President Bill Clinton’s lack of military service and President
George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service proved to be fodder
for critics, while U.S. Senator John Kerry was plagued by
critics who questioned his Vietnam service and combat medals
when he sought the U.S. presidency in 2004.

Blumenthal’s likely Republican opponent in November is
Linda McMahon, former chief executive of professional wrestling
company World Wrestling Entertainment.

Other Republicans seeking the nomination in the Aug. 10
primary are former U.S. congressman Rob Simmons and economist
Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital.

Blumenthal also defended his deferments, saying: “If you
know the way draft boards work, generally the person under
review may not even be aware of the deferments.”

“What they did to defer me, and how many they did, was
really their decision,” he said.

He also said he got “no special favors, no privileges” when
he was deployed in the Marine Reserves to Parris Island, South
Carolina. “I joined the Reserves by picking up the phone and
calling them up,” he said.
Investing Analysis

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Anthony Boadle)

CORRECTED – U.S. Senate candidate under fire over war record