Notes on the Atrocities Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...
Friday, February 13, 2004
BUSH ADMITS ABSENCE: "I WAS WITH MOTHER THERESA"
WASHINGTON (API) -- Under increasing pressure from Democrats and the media, President Bush today released a statement about where he was for five months in 1972. "Although the American people understand that these malicious charges made by my political opponents are nothing more than a tawdry effort to smear my spotless record, I nevertheless stand before you today with a personal disclosure. I had hoped to avoid this because it was my own private business, and certainly nothing I wanted to take political advantage of, but for five months between May and October 1972, I was in Calcutta, India, helping Mother Theresa nurse that great city's dying poor."
The President spoke to a hand-selected group of journalists and supporters in the White House earlier today. Mr. Bush has found himself in hot water over gaps in his service record from his time in the Air National Guard. Until this morning, the President resolutely maintained that he served the full time in the Guard, meeting his service obligations. On Tuesday, the White House released records of paychecks to try to quell interest in the story. While it bolstered the President's claim for much of the alleged absence, reporters called for information about a gap in payments in 1972.
Today's announcement started a number of observers, who were surprised at the revelation. "Bush was in Calcutta?" asked a surprised family friend, Mack "Tex" Jones. "Hell, he was one of my drinkin' buddies. You'd a thought I'd a noticed somethin' like that. Five months you say? Damn. I guess I was pretty hammered."
Democrats were leery about the claim. "It's certainly hard to argue that it was misspent time--if indeed he was in Calcutta," said Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. "Does Mother Theresa's outfit keep records down there? Can anyone verify it?"
"They were the dead and dying," noted Ed Gillespie, RNC head. "Be hard to find anyone who remembers him. But no doubt the Democrats will argue it proves he wasn't there. They're so cynical."
Once group not surprised were organizers of the "Peace President" movement, who have mounted a lobbying effort for the President to receive a Nobel Peace Prize. Jenna Thomson, director of the project, said it pointed out that Bush's commitment to peace has been a life-long journey. "This might put him over the top."
Calls to the Calcutta convent have not yet been returned.