HARTFORD, Conn. — Richard Blumenthal's words are haunting him again.
Already forced to apologize for saying he had served "in" Vietnam in the Marine Reserve rather than stateside, the state attorney general's campaign for U.S. Senate is now being challenged to explain his assertion that he had "never taken PAC money" and has "rejected all special interest money."
Federal records show that he has accepted $480,000 in political action committee money since he made that claim in January. Moreover, his Republican opponent, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, points to nearly $17,000 Blumenthal received as a state legislative candidate in the 1980s — a figure Blumenthal's campaign does not dispute.
Blumenthal's campaign insists he did not lie — as McMahon says — when he said in an interview on MSNBC the day after he announced he was running for the seat of retiring Sen. Chris Dodd that he had never taken PAC money. His campaign says he was referring only to his 20 years as attorney general.
The context of the interview was the race for the Senate seat and how expensive the campaign would be. During the interview, Blumenthal was shown a clip in which McMahon said she would commit whatever personal money was necessary to win because she did not want to take special interest funds.
Blumenthal was then asked how tough the race would be — and how expensive.
"I've never taken PAC money, and I have rejected all special interest money because I have stood strong and taken legal action against many of those special interests," he responded.