Friday, October 22, 2004

Operation Pull Starts to Unravel 

Like a cheap sweater. He...can..run..but...he...can...not...hide...

via Knight-Ridder (Philly Inquirer) under the remarkably subdued headline "Bush's volunteer service disputed":

Knight Ridder Newspapers

HOUSTON - President Bush often has cited his work in 1973 with a now-defunct inner-city program for troubled teens as the source for his belief in "compassionate conservatism."

But former associates of White, who died in 1988, have disputed in recent interviews much of Bush's version of his time at the program.

"I was working full time for an inner-city poverty program known as Project P.U.L.L.," Bush said in his 1999 autobiography, "A Charge to Keep." "My friend John White ... asked me to come help him run the program. ... I was intrigued by John's offer. ... Now I had a chance to help people."

But White's administrative assistant and others associated with P.U.L.L., speaking on the record for the first time, say Bush was not helping to run the program and White had not asked Bush to come aboard. Instead, the associates said, White told them he agreed to take Bush on as a favor to Bush's father, who was honorary co-chairman of the program at the time, and Bush was unpaid. They say White told them Bush had gotten into some kind of trouble but White never gave them specifics.

"We didn't know what kind of trouble he'd been in, only that he'd done something that required him to put in the time," said Althia Turner, White's administrative assistant.

A White House spokesman, told about the interviews, denied Bush had been in any trouble or Bush's father, who was ambassador to the United Nations at the time, had arranged the job at P.U.L.L. He acknowledged, however, Bush was not paid for his work there. Bush's father declined a request for an interview.

"It was incorrect to say he was working there," spokesman Trent Duffy said. "He was doing volunteer service and getting paid by the Guard."
This is pretty much the gist of it, the story is based on quotes from people who were there at the time. I doubt it will chelate the koolade from anybody except maybe diehard fans of the early-70's Oilers, if any such persons exist. But why must we rely on verbal testimony rather than documentary evidence? Hmm, good question:
No documents from Bush's time with P.U.L.L. exist. The agency, which closed in 1989, left most of its records behind when it moved to a new location in 1984. The building's owner, Southern Leather Co., said those were discarded. No one seems to know what happened to any remaining records after 1989.

UPDATE Um, what kind of trouble was Bush in, anyhow? And why did he feel he had to do the time? He certainly didn't feel he had to do the time in TxANG...—Lambert

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