“Blumenthal mistake” – the birth of a catchphrase?

May 26, 2010


Joe Biden may have coined a new one.

Will “Blumenthal mistake” – to claim service in the Vietnam War, while having served stateside in the National Guard – end up in some future dictionary of American political slang?

The U.S. vice president hosted a poolside barbecue on Tuesday night for wounded troops at his home at the U.S. Naval Observatory. During his remarks, Biden alluded to the experiences of troops coming home from Vietnam and joked: “I didn’t serve in Vietnam. I don’t want to make a Blumenthal mistake here. Our attorney general from Connecticut, God love him.”

Later on, he added,  “I have a bad habit of saying exactly what I think,” an acknowledgment of his own reputation for making verbal gaffes.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s campaign for the U.S. Senate hit a snag this month when The New York Times reported that in at least one speech in 2008 he said he served in Vietnam during the war. Blumenthal did a stint with a Marine Corps Reserve unit that was never deployed overseas.

Blumenthal responded by saying he may have at times accidentally “misspoken” about his military record and won the Democratic nomination to seek the U.S. Senate seat despite the report. So maybe his “Blumenthal” will not have any long-term effect.

Of course, there also may at some point be another entry in political dictionaries — “to Biden,” referring to making slips of the tongue.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Biden talks with his wife Jill at the White House May 19, 2010)

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