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February 11, 2004
White House Releases Bush's Payroll Records from Guard

The current flap over President Bush's service in the National Guard may come down to the quality of the military's recordkeeping from more than 30 years ago.

In an attempt to answer questions about President Bush's service in the National Guard, the White House released payroll records that the administration contends show Bush fulfilled all of his duties, the Los Angeles Times reports.

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Bush's critics have alleged that the president didn't fulfill all of his duties after joining the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. In 1972, President Bush received permission to transfer to an Alabama unit for training, so he could work on a family friend's Senate campaign. Critics want to know when and how often Bush reported for duty from May 1972 to May 1973.

The newspaper reports that the released payroll records show that Bush was paid for some days during that time period, but do not show what duties Bush performed during that time. Thus far, no individual has come forward to verify Bush's account of his days serving in Alabama.

The White House contends that the payroll records and the fact that Bush was honorably discharged in 1973 are evidence that Bush fulfilled all of his obligations.

The controversy has gained momentum as the presidential election grabs more attention, the newspaper notes. Senator John Kerry, the current frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. Veterans who served with Kerry have appeared with him on the campaign trail.

Source: Los Angeles Times, via the San Francisco Chronicle

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