Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal had been viewed as a virtual shoe-in to win the Senate seat of retiring Chris Dodd, but now the Democratic candidate finds himself on the ropes after a report in the New York Times that exposes him for lying about having served in Vietnam. What makes it more difficult for him to wiggle out of is that not just once, but on numerous occasions, Blumenthal either directly said he served in Vietnam, or phrased things in such a way as to leave the audience with that impression — even though he received at least five deferments. (I’ve posted a video of the appearance at which he explicitly claimed to have served.) It’s still early in the election cycle, so he’ll have plenty of time to dig himself out of this mess. And given that in most polls he leads all Republican candidates by 20 points or more in a very Democratic state, he has a large margin of error. My guess is that as damaging as this is, on its own, it won’t be enough to sink Blumenthal. But if Republicans are able to establish this sort of lying as being part of a larger pattern, then that’s when he’ll run into even bigger problems. Either way, it certainly reshuffled the deck in a race that was seen as a safe Democratic seat.
For more on Blumenthal, check out Jim Antle’s piece on his record as an overzealous prosecutor and shameless self-promoter.
UPDATE: Nate Silver makes the case that the Democrats should draft a new candidate.