LA Times Hints DeVore Misdirected Over Military & Reagan Background

Chuck DeVore: Fill in the blank.
Chuck DeVore: Fill in the blank.
John Gilhooley / OC Weekly
​Perhaps inspired by the New York Times' recent detrailment of a Connecticut senatorial candidate's campaign by pointing out that he had repeatedly "misspoken" about fighting in the Vietnam War, a Los Angeles Times article today takes a close look at Irvine Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore's claims about his own military service and political background.

While the story bears the wimpy headline "DeVore has a staunch conservative record," the implication is that DeVore's words create an impression that one could call "misleading."

"Throughout the campaign, DeVore has emphasized his service as a military officer and a young Reagan White House appointee at the Pentagon as experiences that helped make him the most qualified candidate," the Times writes. "But at times he appears to have overstated those accomplishments."


Three main points of controversy here.


First: DeVore has said that he serves in "the U.S. Army," but he doesn't always follow that with "as a reservist." A voter might get the impression he serves, or served, full time. But DeVore's ballot designation does say "Assemblyman/Military Reservist." 

Second: DeVore spoke of being "shot at in Lebanon" during a debate, but he didn't say that it was not during his time as a soldier but rather as a student and a journalist (with the Orange County Register! Ah to read a newspaper with foreign correspondents again...). To be fair, though, there have been other times when DeVore elaborated on the incident and made clear why he was in Lebanon. The Times asked an ABC News reporter who was with DeVore at the time about whether his account of being "shot at" matched reality:

He recalls the Israeli troops taunting the Syrians, who fired shots in response. But Zelnick said they were out of range and that Israeli journalists present had publicly teased him for reacting to the gunshots. "Nothing I saw or experienced could reasonably be interpreted as our having been driven off the hill by Syrian fire," he said.

In response, DeVore has posted the audio tape he recorded of the incident, as well as the transcript, on his website. There are gun shots fired, and DeVore can be heard remarking that the gunmen could take off his head at the range they were at. This might have been the "teasing" Zelnick talked about:

As we were being escorted off the observation post, I [DeVore] asked the Israeli escort officer, "Did you ask him, do they usually test fire their weapons like that every day? It's just..."

He said, "They're not too happy about being photographed."

"...it's just their way of displaying their displeasure with us?"

Israeli officer, "I mean they don't see you... don't take it personally, OK?"

"Yea, I know."

Israeli officer laughs.

Third point: DeVore has said that while serving in Ronald Reagan's administration, he pitched U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter on the idea of asking congress to support an Israeli missile defense system, an idea that was successfully put into action. But Hunter, speaking to the Times, doesn't credit DeVore with the idea. 


The Times story also rehashed a controversy over DeVore's support in the State Assembly for extending the mobile-home leases in Crystal Cove.

The DeVore camp's response: Don't even think of comparing this to the Hillary-in-Bosnia scandal. And read this pro-DeVore take, why don't ya?


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