On its front page today, the New York Times has this:
At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.
“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008….
There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.
In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.
The campaign of World Wrestling Entertainment co-founder Linda McMahon, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Blumenthal, is doing little to discourage suggestions it provided the sort of opposition research to The Times that is known around campaigns as an “oppo dump.”
Gerald Seib with the Wall Street Journal has a worrisome take on Tuesday elections in Pennsylvania, Arkansas and Kentucky:
If you think Washington works badly now, it’s just possible the 2010 vote may well add to the capital’s polarization, and hence to its dysfunction.
This dynamic will be on full display Tuesday as voters head to the polls in primaries in a few key states. In Arkansas, moderate Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln is threatened by a challenge from her party’s left in the person of Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. In Kentucky, tea-party hero Rand Paul could upend Republican establishment favorite Trey Grayson. In both cases, more moderate candidates could be swept out by forces from the ideological wings.
But the pattern is cutting a swath well beyond just a couple of states. On the Democratic side, some of the year’s most vulnerable incumbents are centrist Old Bulls, as well as a set of newer moderates who won in swing districts in the Democrats’ successful drive to take the House and deepen their hold on it in 2006 and 2008.
Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the tea-party movement is pushing Republicans to the right en masse. Even in places where tea party-styled candidates don’t win, they are likely to force more-traditional Republican candidates off center ground to survive.
If you wonder whether Republicans are looking kindly on state School Superintendent Kathy Cox’s abrupt departure from the 2010 campaign for a job in Washington, consider this less-than-fulsome praise from state GOP chairman Sue Everhart:
“Kathy Cox has been a reliable public servant for the people of Georgia. Under her leadership, Georgia schools have made significant improvement. I appreciate her service and wish her the best in her future endeavors.”
U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-Savannah) is catching flak for spending $264,000 to communicate with voters in his congressional district – franking privileges, they’re called.
Republican challenger Ray McKinney, a Republican from Lyons, has volunteered to introduce Barrow’s staff to e-mail, which by all accounts is close to free.
Yesterday afternoon, we highlighted a guns-blazing (metaphorically) TV spot flogging the candidacy of Dale Peterson for commissioner of agriculture in Alabama. Some Republicans are already calling it the best ad of the season.
A prominent Democratic strategist with roots in this state disagrees, and points to this to-hell-with-them ad by Buz Mills, a Republican candidate for governor in Arizona:
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