Media ignore Bush's former professor, who says Bush admitted "dad's friends" got him into National Guard

››› ››› GABE WILDAU

As the controversy swirls around documents uncovered by CBS regarding President George W. Bush's National Guard service, a significant witness has been largely ignored: a corroborating source for the central claim in CBS's original story that Bush benefited from family connections throughout his military service.

The September 10 edition of CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown featured a story about the controversy over President George W. Bush's National Guard service that included a single clip of professor Yoshi Tsurumi. Tsurumi has claimed that when Bush was his student at Harvard Business School in 1973, he told Tsurumi that he had gained a coveted spot in the Texas Air National Guard with help from his well-connected father. Tsurumi, who was an associate visiting professor at Harvard Business School from 1972 to 1976, told CNN: "He [Bush] admitted to me that to avoid the Vietnam draft, he had his dad -- he said 'dad's friends' -- skip him through the long waiting list to get into the Texas National Guard." Tsurumi is currently a professor of marketing at Baruch College in New York City.

The September 10 broadcast of a fraction of the Tsurumi interview is the last that the TV-viewing public has seen to date of Tsurumi's recollections. Stories in major print and Internet publications have been limited to CNN.com, the New York Daily News, and the Philadelphia Daily News (which cites the New York Daily News article). Tsurumi's account, which neither CNN nor either of the two publications dispute in any way, has been otherwise ignored by the media, despite the continued interest in the topic of Bush's National Guard service.

Moreover, that short clip of Tsurumi quoted above is all that CNN has aired to date; the CNN.com version of the story includes that quotation along with other remarks in which Tsurumi describes his unflattering recollections of Bush, suggesting that more video footage of Tsurumi is indeed available.

Tsurumi has made no secret of his distaste for Bush. In 2000, he contributed $375 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC); in 1992, he donated $600 to President George H.W. Bush's opponent, Bill Clinton, and $900 to the DNC. Still, given the media attention focused on the disputed CBS memos, it seems as though an apparently credible source who contradicts one of Bush's principal assertions about his National Guard service would get more than minimal attention.

During a September 14 interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today show, investigative biographer Kitty Kelley referenced Tsurumi's claim that Bush told Tsurumi that "his father used pull to get him into the National Guard" as evidence of the "pattern of connections that the family has used." Kelley is the author of The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty. Republicans, including White House communications director Dan Bartlett, called on news outlets not to cover Kelley or the book.

Stories/Interests
Bush Military Service, 2004 Elections
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