Here's a fascinating AP story in <$Ad$>which the reporter went back to talk to people who were in the mix in that 1972 Alabama Senate campaign to find out their recollections of the future president. Some, it seems, remember him as a big drinker with little interest in military service, others remember him as a hard worker who did his Guard duty.
Not surprisingly, I suppose, the range of opinions seems to conform at least in part to the current political views of the people recollecting their memories of the time.
But this passage stuck out to me.
Jean Sullivan, a former RNC national committeewoman and Alabama GOP leader, is one of Bush's staunchest defenders in the article. She worked on the 1972 Blount campaign along with the president.
Some within the Alabama Guard were resentful because Bush was from Texas and was spending only the minimum amount of required time on duty, said Sullivan. "It was just some idiots," said Sullivan.
Mad about rumors surrounding Bush, whose father was U.N. ambassador at the time, Sullivan said she called a Guard commander to explain that Bush was doing all he could while working on the campaign.
"The man called me back and apologized. I thought it was gone forever," said Sullivan. "And then I started hearing all this stuff a couple of weeks ago."
So there was already disgruntlement even then from "some idiots". Sullivan was mad about the rumors that were circulating. So she called up the base commander, or someone in authority, to give him an earful and ask him to get the rumors from the "idiots" under control. Then he called back and apologized to her.
Is this version of events really helpful to the president?
I guess at least it'll put to rest those critics who say he shirked his duty and had to have his dad's political friends cover for him.