GOP takes credit for N.Y. Times hit

By Alexander Burns and Mike Allen
|  Tuesday, May 18, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM EDT
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GOP Takes Credit for Blumenthal Hit

Linda McMahon, Republican Senate candidate in Connecticut.

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Pulling back the curtain on journalistic sausage-making usually hidden from voters, a Republican Senate candidate is taking credit for the front-page New York Times story accusing Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of “plainly untrue” remarks about Vietnam service.

The campaign of World Wrestling Entertainment co-founder Linda McMahon, who is seeking the Republican nomination to run against Blumenthal, is doing little to discourage suggestions it provided the sort of opposition research to The Times that is known around campaigns as an “oppo dump.”

Shawn McCoy, a McMahon spokesman, told POLITICO: “As we have researched Dick Blumenthal's record, we've discovered some very troubling disparities between what he's said and the facts. This is a serious blow to his credibility.”

Making the claim more explicitly, McMahon's campaign website has re-posted, as an "In Case You Missed It," a blog entry by Kevin Rennie of South Windsor, a lawyer and a former Republican state senator and representative:

“McMahon Strikes Blumenthal In NYT Article ... The piece, fed to the paper by the Linda McMahon Senate campaign, is accompanied by a chilling 2008 video of Blumenthal blithely making the false claim. ... The Blumenthal Bombshell comes at the end of more than 2 months of deep, persistent research by Republican Linda McMahon's Senate campaign. It gave the explosive Norwalk video recording to The Times. This is what comes of $16 million, a crack opposition research operation.”

Rennie quotes no sources. The campaign’s decision to trumpet his dispatch allows Democrats to content the expose was political -- an argument that may not work, but at least gives them a talking point on a tough day.

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