'04 Campaign: An Absence In Alabama

As Bush's military service re-emerges as an issue, here is what we know--and don't know

When George W. Bush was running for President four years ago, stories raising questions about his Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard never got much traction. In the Republican primaries, John McCain forbid his staff to exploit the fact that while their guy was being beaten senseless in the Hanoi Hilton, Bush was safe at home, protecting Houston from foreign attack. Al Gore steered clear too. It was not until a week before Election Day in November 2000 that Gore surrogates accused Bush of having gone AWOL--absent without leave--for an entire year while in the Guard. But few journalists,...

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