Add another politician to the list of those coming under scrutiny for potentially misrepresenting their military service on the campaign trail this year. Now Republican candidate for governor in Alabama Robert Bentley is facing questions about an ad that references his work as a medical officer during the Vietnam War.
The ad in question, called “Back To Work,” includes a picture of what appears to be a nurse standing by a wounded soldier (presumably from sometime during the Vietnam War), with a caption that reads “Hospital Commander Vietnam War.” Meanwhile, a narrator says Bentley “served his country, and healed troops wounded in Vietnam.” According to the Associated Press, callers on talk radio shows in Alabama have been saying the caption creates the false impression that Bentley was stationed in Vietnam. (According to the bio on his campaign website, Bentley was stationed at Pope Air Force Base at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.)
The president of the Alabama chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) told a local newspaper that he had asked for clarification of Bentley’s service. “I am very concerned but I will reserve any condemnation until a review,” Wayne Reynolds said. “[His ads] certainly give the impression he is a Vietnam veteran.”
In response, the Bentley campaign issued a statement prepared by Ray Yeatman, the president of Bentley’s local VVA chapter in Tuscaloosa. “I have reviewed Dr. Robert Bentley’s military records and television commercial and can say unequivocally that the representation of Dr. Bentley’s military service in his television commercial is 100 percent truthful and accurate,” Yeatman said.
Watch the ad:
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com