Democrat and Republican Compete for Title of Biggest Liar

Thursday, May 20, 2010
Mark Souder

What’s worse: a religious conservative lying about the importance of sexual abstinence, or a liberal lying about his war record? Time will only tell for the culprits, although immediate repercussions have already been felt for one politician, and the other may suffer for his sin come November.

 
In the race to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticut), state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal seemed like a strong choice for the Democrats to hold onto this seat. That is, until Blumenthal talked publicly about serving “in” Vietnam, when in fact he never left the United States during the war and went out of his way to avoid military service.
 
According to The New York Times, Blumenthal received at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970. When he ran out of options to avoid the draft, he managed to get a slot in the U.S. Marine Corps reserves and joined a unit in Washington, DC, that “conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.”
 
Before he claimed a kinship with those serving today in Iraq and Afghanistan, Blumenthal was considered the favorite to win his party’s nomination and the November general election. Now?
 
“He’s got a terrible credibility problem here, and I think what makes it so dramatic is this is a guy who had such a squeaky-clean reputation,” Stuart Rothenberg, author of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, told The Washington Post. The political analyst added the Senate race is now “significantly more competitive.”
 
But at least Blumenthal still has a chance at a career in public office. That’s not the case for Representative Mark Souder (R-Indiana), a Christian conservative who admitted to having an affair with a staffer. The revelation that Souder was sleeping with Tracy Jackson, a married member of his communications team—who appeared in a sexual abstinence video with the lawmaker—forced Souder to resign from office.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History (by Raymond Hernandez, New York Times)
Citing Affair, Republican Gives Up House Seat (by Carl Hulse, New York Times)

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