Democratic National Committee

"Operation Fortunate Son"
Video unveiled Sept. 14, 2004



Announcer: Vietnam.

A generation forced to make difficult choices.

Some chose war. Others chose different paths.

It's hard, thirty years later, to pass judgment on those choices.

But we do expect our leaders to be honest with us about them.

George W. Bush: "I George Walker Bush do solemnly swear."

Has George Bush?

The President said he never used any influence to get into the National Guard.

Debate Moderator: "You are confident that no influence was exercised on your behalf."

George W. Bush: "I am, yeah."

Announcer: But former Texas Lt. Governor Ben Barnes gave sworn testimony that he pulled strings at the behest of a Bush family friend.

Ben Barnes: "I recommended a lot of people for the National Guard during the Vietnam era, as Speaker of the House and as Lt. Governor."

Dan Rather: "And you recommended George W. Bush."

Ben Barnes: "Yes I did."

Dan Rather: "And you said you did this for others. What would be called preferential treatment for President Bush. Would you describe it as that?"

Ben Barnes: "I would describe it as preferential treatment."

Announcer: Just before losing his student deferment, George Bush was accepted in the National Guard.

George Bush leapfrogged a long waiting list.

This son of privilege. This fortunate son.

More than 150 young men were waiting to get in the Guard when George Bush was inducted. Their families didn't have any special influence.

Just months ago, George Bush sat in the Oval Office and said he fulfilled his duty in the Guard.

Tim Russert: "You would allow pay stubs, tax records, anything that shows that you were serving during that time?"

George W. Bush: "I'm just telling you, I did my duty."

Announcer: But Guard records show he didn't take required physical.

He was grounded.

And for 6-months in 1972 he failed to perform any Guard service, as required. His supervisor wrote that Bush "had not been observed at this unit."

Where was he? And why did he miss his physical?

This son of privilege. This fortunate son.

Today tens of thousands of brave Guardsmen and women from across America serve with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They don't miss physicals. They didn't pull strings. They are living up to their commitment.

It's time for George Bush to come clean and answer the questions about his service.

Because it may be hard to sit in judgment on choices made at a confusing time. But there's nothing confusing about telling the truth.


On the screen
Notes and Observations:  Emotions may have gotten the best of the Democrats.  It seems a highly questionable strategy to try to make an issue of Bush's activities of 30 years ago.  Character is a key factor in presidential elections, but voters know Bush went through a youthful period, and now there is the record of the past three and a half years and a broad range of pressing issues facing the country.

According to the DNC press release, veterans were to take part "in more than 30 Operation Fortunate Son events in 21 states this week calling on George W. Bush to answer specific questions about his National Guard service."  The five specific questions are:

Q: Why did George Bush say "I did my duty" when he missed months of duty in 1972, 73 and 74?

Q: How did George Bush avoid getting called into active service for missing months of duty in 1972, 73, 74?

Q: Why did George Bush say he received "no special treatment" when Ben Barnes says he pulled strings to secure a Guard slot for him?

Q: Who asked Bush family friend Sidney Adger to get Bush a slot in the Guard immediately after Bush graduated and at the height of the Vietnam War?

Q: When will George Bush produce any credible witness who can attest to his service in the Alabama Air National Guard?