Teams will search for documentation of Bush's National Guard service
In an effort to quell rising criticism the White House today announced the establishment of a 750 member team that will search for records documenting President Bush's service in the National Guard. The search team will be headed by David Elemeno who was previously head of Records Retention for the Arthur Andersen consulting firm. At question is a period of several months when the young George W. Bush was living in Alabama and working on the senatorial campaign of a family friend. Bush's official biography states that during this period he twice saved the nation from invasion from Cuba, and was on one occasion required to take command of an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Mexico during an ongoing action against the fishing fleet of Veracruz, Mexico.
The White House is attempting overcome a growing belief that records concerning the President's service may not exist. In an apparently coordinated effort a number of Administration officials released statements today in support of the search.
Speaking to the Security Council of the Southern States Ladies Home Quilting Association, Secretary of State Colin Powell said "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence. I will cite some examples, and these are from human sources. Well, not exactly human sources, since no one actually saw him in Alabama. But intelligence. If that word can be used in this context.". His speech was accompanied by aerial photographs of the states of Texas and Arizona with circles and arrows that Secretary Powell said indicated the probable locations of the President's service, and several artists' interpretations of what President Bush might have looked like during his time in the National Guard.
Interviewed at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld expressed no doubts about the existence of the records. "Not only do we know the records exist" he asserted, "but we know where they are. They're in Denver and in St. Louis, or somewhere around there."
Meanwhile, White House spokesman Scott McClellan displayed documents that he said proved that then Lieutenant Bush did participate in National Guard training during the time he lived in Alabama. Under questioning Mr. McClellan was forced to admit that the documents, a receipt for 12 cases of champagne from National Wines and Liquors in Houston and a medical report from Montgomery, Alabama showing treatment for a deviated septum did not conclusively prove that the President had, in fact, taken part in the required training.
Mr. McClellan also stated that the President's work on the Senate campaign of William Blount should count as national service since he was "fighting the nation's enemies".
Speaking through his spokesbutler Democratic presidential frontrunner John Kerry said "I really have no questions about President Bush's possible use of his family connections to escape combat service in Vietnam and his extraordinary failure to fulfill his commission in the National Guard. The President's lack of character, and possible cowardice don't interest me at all. I have no time to spend quibbling over the definition of terms like AWOL and desertion. Really, there are much more important things to talk about than the President's failure to meet his obligations, and his lack of honesty. It's far too early to even bandy about a term like Cover Up. If you ask me any questions about the President leaving his station in the National Guard I will have to answer just like the President and say No Comment. By the way, do you have Terry McAuliffe's number?"