Yalies stick together, especially in the case of Yale Law schoolmates Hillary Clinton and Connecticut’s senior U.S. senator, Richard Blumenthal. Blumenthal gushed last Friday over Clinton’s political stock, ahead of the former secretary of state’s announcement Sunday that she is running for president in 2016.
“She literally can make history,” Blumenthal told Hearst Connecticut Media. “How many people have been a presidential spouse, a senator in her own right and a distinguished secretary of state with a record of representing of major state (New York) and our nation abroad? By any measure, she is very seriously and significantly qualified, especially as compared to some of the other contenders.”
Blumenthal downplayed the recent email retention scandal that has dogged Clinton, who used her personal e-mail account to conduct official business as secretary of state inside of a protected government server.
“She has addressed it in a thoughtful and serious way, as she should,” Blumenthal said. “It’s not going to be the decisive factor in whether people vote for her.”
The prospect of appearing on the same ticket with Clinton must be particularly salivating to Blumenthal, who is up for re-election in 2016.
“I think the more people can see Hillary the person, I’m tempted to say the real Hillary Clinton, the more that they will develop very deep and genuine affection and admiration for her,” Blumenthal said. “It will be a demanding and difficult campaign, as every presidential campaign is. She has extraordinary breadth of experience and balance and temperament and intellect and insight on issues.”
In 2008 when he was still state attorney general, Blumenthal was co-chairman of Clinton’s campaign in Connecticut, which went to then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, of Illinois, in the Democratic Super Tuesday primary. Blumenthal is an active member of the group Ready for Hillary.
“I’ve urged her to take this step and I’m just delighted she’s doing it,” Blumenthal said.
Blumenthal wasn't in attendance for Clinton’s debut as a candidate. He was in Hartford for Sunday’s parade celebrating the 10th national championship for the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball program.
Blumenthal’s decades-long alliance with Clinton could pay dividends for the freshman senator, whose name has often been connected to Cabinet jobs in a hypothetical Clinton administration.
“I think that’s kind of way ahead of where anyone is thinking at this point,” Blumenthal said. “My focus is on working and fighting for the people of Connecticut in a job that I love, and I hope to continue to serve them.”
Don Pesci is a Vernon, Conn.-based political columnist.