Newspaper Outs Candidate As Decorated War Hero
The race to represent Massachusetts' 6th Congressional District just took an unusual twist.
Seth Moulton was the first candidate in the state to defeat an incumbent in a primary in 22 years after winning a longshot bid against scandal-ridden Representative John Tierney. But it's even more rare for a candidate to bury his military accomplishments.
When The Boston Globe reviewed the military records of the former Marine and Iraq War veteran, they found that the candidate hadn't been completely forthcoming about his record — he'd been awarded the the Bronze Star medal for valor and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal for valor, according to a story the newspaper published Saturday.
Even without the medals, however, Moulton's military career has been the inspiration for dozens of near-adulatory news reports and broadcasts. According to a 2008 profile in Boston Magazine:
During his initial deployment, he’d led one of the first platoons into Baghdad, and shortly before the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in that city’s central square, he was interviewed live on CNN. More media attention followed: a segment on MSNBC, a profile and repeated interviews on NPR, multiple articles in the Globe, an appearance in the award-winning documentary No End in Sight. Along the way, he’d caught the eye of no less than General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.
The profile focused on Moulton signing up for multiple tours of duty, despite not supporting the war, something his parents couldn't understand. His mother told the magazine that when he enlisted, her first thought was, “There was no career choice he could have made that would have made me more unhappy, except if he had chosen a life of crime.”
Moulton said he didn't use the awards in his campaign — or even tell his parents — because boasting about it would be unseemly, especially when others didn't receive medals for their bravery. “Look, we served our country, and we served the guys next to us. And it’s not something to brag about,” he said. He asked The Globe not to call him a hero. The response has been praise and surprise — “wow,” “crazy,” “amazing story” etc.
Polls of Moulton's race against Republican Richard Tisei have been "all over the map," but as Politico reported on Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is pulling its money out of the race in a sign of confidence that Moulton "is on track" to win.