Page last updated at 18:49 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 19:49 UK

Senate hopeful denies Vietnam-era service allegations

Richard Blumenthal
Richard Blumenthal says he volunteered for service

Connecticut Senate hopeful Richard Blumenthal has denied allegations he misrepresented his military service during the Vietnam war era.

The New York Times ran video from a 2008 veterans ceremony in which he said: "I served in Vietnam."

The Democrat did not serve in Vietnam, instead spending six months in the Marine Corps Reserve in the US.

Mr Blumenthal said he had "misspoken" and that it was "absolutely unintentional... in instead of during."

His campaign team had earlier said the newspaper coverage was an "outrageous distortion".

The complete sentence uttered by Mr Blumenthal at the 2008 event was: "We have learned something very important since the days that I served in Vietnam."

The Connecticut attorney general said he had misspoken on a "few occasions out of hundreds".

"I always honour those that did far more than I did, men and women who never came back, those who returned only to be ignored by the government that sent them there.

"On a few occasions I've misspoken about my service. I regret that. I take full responsibility but I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country.

"I served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and I'm proud of it."

The New York Times also reported that Mr Blumenthal had received five deferments to avoid the draft to serve in Vietnam between 1965 and 1970.

Mr Blumenthal denied he had any special favours or treatment in getting into the Marine Reserve.

He added: "There was no knowing with certainty where anyone would be deployed."

Mr Blumenthal has been tipped as a strong favourite to succeed retiring Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd.

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