The Self Made Pundit

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Friday, February 13, 2004
DID BUSH COME CLEAN ON HIS NATIONAL GUARD APPLICATION?: A comparison of Bush’s previous statements about his arrest record and today’s reports about his National Guard application reveal that Bush may have failed to disclose his full arrest record to the Guard.

According to today’s reports, in his 1968 application, Bush revealed to the National Guard that he had been arrested once, for a college prank. Previously, however, Bush has admitted that before he joined the Guard, he had been arrested twice – once for the prank and once for rowdiness.

In an article posted Wednesday night, USA Today pointed out that Bush had acknowledged being arrested twice before being asked about his arrest record on his National Guard application:

Two forms in Bush's publicly released military files – his enlistment application and a background check – contain blacked-out entries in response to questions about arrests or convictions. Bush acknowledged in biographies published in 1999 that he was arrested twice before he enlisted in the Air National Guard: once for stealing a wreath and another time for rowdiness at a Yale-Princeton football game.

In an article posted last night, however, USA Today reports that the White House has now revealed that Bush only revealed one arrest (as well as four traffic citations or tickets) on his National Guard application:

The White House disclosed information in documents Thursday showing that President Bush had been arrested once for a college prank and was cited for two automobile accidents and two speeding tickets before he enlisted in the National Guard.

The accidents and tickets were disclosed for the first time in response to questions about a portion of Bush's military record that had been blacked out when the file was made public during the 2000 presidential campaign.

The traffic violations are significant in the context of Bush's military career. At the time Bush enlisted in the Texas National Guard, the Air Force typically would have had to issue a waiver for an applicant who had multiple arrests or driving violations.

An officer who served at the same time as the president, former Texas Air National Guard pilot Dean Roome, was required by the Air Force to get a waiver for a $25 speeding ticket when he enlisted in the Air National Guard in 1967.

There is no record of an enlistment waiver in Bush's military file.

The USA Today article makes no mention of the discrepancy between Bush’s reporting one arrest on his application and his previous admissions that he had been arrested twice by the time of his application.

Based on these two USA Today articles, it appears that Bush may have failed to reveal his full arrest history to the National Guard.

So, the new Bush-National Guard question for today is did Bush come clean on his National Guard application in reporting on his arrest record?

Let’s see if the White House can answer this question without raising additional questions about the curious National Guard tenure of George W. Bush.