- Associated Press - Monday, May 24, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal has apologized in an e-mail for misstatements about his military service during the Vietnam War, nearly a week after the controversy erupted.

Mr. Blumenthal said in a statement e-mailed to the Hartford Courant late Sunday that he made mistakes and is sorry.

It’s the first apology from Mr. Blumenthal, who previously had said he regretted his misstatements and took responsibility for them after the New York Times reported last week that he wrongly said more than once that he served in Vietnam.

Mr. Blumenthal, Connecticut’s attorney general, received the Democratic nomination for the Senate race Friday.

Mr. Blumenthal, who served stateside in the Marine Reserve during Vietnam, said he unintentionally said he served “in” Vietnam when he meant “during” Vietnam.

“At times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves,” Mr. Blumenthal said in the statement.

“I have firmly and clearly expressed regret and taken responsibility for my words. I have made mistakes and I am sorry. I truly regret offending anyone,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “I will always champion the cause of Connecticut’s and our nation’s veterans.”

The statement, sent by campaign spokeswoman Maura Downes, came in response to an e-mail query from the Courant asking whether Mr. Blumenthal intended to apologize.

Messages were left Monday morning for Mr. Blumenthal and Ms. Downes.

The dispute erupted when the New York Times reported May 17 that Mr. Blumenthal repeatedly had distorted his military service. The story included quotations and a video of Mr. Blumenthal saying at a 2008 event that he had served in Vietnam.

Mr. Blumenthal said the statements were “totally unintentional” errors that occurred only a few times out of hundreds of public appearances.

A longer version of the video posted by a Republican opponent shows Mr. Blumenthal at the beginning of his speech correctly characterizing his service by saying that he “served in the military, during the Vietnam era.”

A spokeswoman for the New York Times said the longer video does not change the story about a “long and well-established pattern of misleading his constituents about his Vietnam War service.”

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