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White House Rejects Accusations About Bush Evading Military Service - 2004-02-03

The Bush administration is condemning a Democratic party assertion that the president shirked his military duties more than 30 years ago, during the height of the Vietnam War.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan Tuesday said the charge is "outrageous and baseless."

He was responding to a report in The Washington Post in which Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence McAuliffe accuses President Bush of being AWOL, or absent without leave, from the Air National Guard for a period of time beginning in 1972.

That year, according to the report, Mr. Bush transferred from a National Guard unit in Texas to one in Alabama in order to work on a U.S. senate campaign. It says his record of service in both states from May 1972 to May 1973 is vague.

Questions about Mr. Bush's military service first arose during the 2000 presidential campaign.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Bush spokesman McClellan called the report "the worst of election-year politics." He said President Bush fulfilled his duties and received an honorable discharge.