At a news conference in Connecticut, flanked by veterans who support his campaign for Senate, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal defended himself against charges that he lied about serving in Vietnam, first reported in The New York Times.
"On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service, and I regret that," he said. "And I take full responsibility. But I cannot allow... I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country."
Blumenthal told reporters that he left his job in the White House, where he worked for Daniel Patrick Moynihan, at midnight one evening, to get on a bus to go to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C.
"You want to know how I got into the United States Marine Corps Reserve?" he asked. "I looked it up in a phone book. Unlike many of my peers, I chose to join the military and serve my country."
Blumenthal said he was stationed at Parris Island, then he served a six-year commitment, reaching the rank of sergeant.
"I am proud of my service in the United States Marine Corps," he told reporters. "And I am prouder still that my oldest son, Matthew, is now serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserves."
In brief remarks, Blumenthal said that he has always fought for veterans:
"I always honor those who 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."