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Vets Give Blumenthal a Fair Shot

Joe Gallo tends to vote “red,” so he wasn’t leaning toward supporting Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s run for U.S. Senate anyway. Political ideals aside, Gallo thinks the Democratic candidate deserves a fair shot at explaining discrepancies between his remarks and his service record.

“It’s election season,” said Gallo. “People take these things and blow them up.” He specifically mentioned Republican Linda McMahon as someone  he thinks will exploit the revelation. “If she can find cracks in his armor, that will be huge.”

Blumenthal has been a longtime supporter of veterans affairs and has often referenced his service record as a U.S. Marine during Vietnam. The problem is, according to a New York Times article, Blumenthal has been misrepresenting his military career. For one, he was in the Marine Reserve and never served over seas. That has raised questions about comments he made regarding the treatment of soldiers returning from war.

Gallo said the use of “we” in Blumenthal’s statements about returning from Vietnam leaves sufficient doubt about whether the attorney general meant to include himself as one of  the soldiers or if he was just referencing the nation in general.

“In all fairness you have to hear how he initially said it,” said Gallo. If the intent was to deceive, then Gallo finds the remarks very disappointing and thinks Blumenthal should consider stepping out of the race.

Gallo said, “Any politician, if you have bones in your closet and you don’t come forward with them, someone else will find them and use them against you. You’re just hurting yourself.”

Gallo was in the Westport VFW where he serves as the steward for food services. He doesn’t have any military service under his own belt but  said he has tremendous respect for the veterans and doesn’t like seeing anyone attempt to manipulate them. Gallo also manages SoNo Seafood in Norwalk and is an energy consultant for Starion Energy.

“There is a level of integrity that 99 .9 percent of the veterans have that only comes with service,” said Gallo.

Len Sabia sat at the bar at the VFW drinking a glass of red wine and watching the television.He earned his membership at the VFW fighting in WWII. He entered service as Navy, and left as part of the Marine Corps He had heard about the allegations against Blumenthal but didn’t think too much about them. Sabia said Blumenthal is a close personal friend and if he misspoke it wasn’t to deceive.

“He didn’t come back, we came back,” said Sabia in agreement with Gallo’s thought on Blumenthal’s choice of words. Sabia added, “He’s a good guy.”

Blumenthal himself said he regrets misspeaking on a few occasions but said he will not allow anyone to impugn his record of service.

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