Reporter who broke Blumenthal Vietnam story joins McMahon alum’s firm

Consider this a footnote to a tumultuous episode in the 2010 Senate race between Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon.

Ray Hernandez, the New York Times reporter who broke the story about Blumenthal misstating his Vietnam-era service record, is joining the PR firm where McMahon’s top strategist that year, Ed Patru, is now a vice president.

Dylan Byers noted the move in Politico.

As Byers reports, Patru told the Connecticut Mirror and, later, the NYT’s public editor that he had provided The Times with a video of a Blumenthal speech in which he referred to service in Vietnam.  Blumenthal was a stateside Marine reservist who never served overseas.

It was an odd episode. Blumenthal’s official bio was correct. He accurately referred to his service in numerous public appearances, including a televised debate. But he clearly referred to his time in Vietnam in what eventually was found to be at least a half-dozen times.

At least once, Blumenthal referred to his service correctly and incorrectly in the same speech. The candidate and his campaign said he misspoke.

The Times story was broader than the inaccuracies: It explored how Blumenthal, who was a White House aide, obtained his draft deferment.

In his first interview after the story broke, Blumenthal he had no explanation as to how he deviated from his stump speech and referred to service in Vietnam.

“The phraseology has been the same again and again and again, which is why if you go to veterans, if you go to reporters, if you go to people who heard me, they say, ‘We heard you talk about it. You never made that mistake when we were listening.’ There is no question that on some occasions I did,” he told The Mirror. “And I truly regret it. I am sorry for it. I take full responsibility.”