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Did Bush Get Vietnam Favor?

A top Texas politician lobbied the head of the state's Air National Guard to get George W. Bush a spot as a pilot in a Guard fighter unit during the Vietnam War, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Bush has denied joining the Guard to avoid the draft and possible duty in Vietnam.

The newspaper, citing informed sources, said the speaker of the Texas legislature, Ben Barnes, intervened to assist Bush sometime in late 1967 or early 1968 at the request of a friend of Bush's father. The friend, Sidney Adger, and the National Guard officer, Brigadier Gen. James Rose, are both dead.

Barnes, who retired from politics after serving as speaker and then lieutenant governor, has said he never received any request from Bush's father, then a Houston congressman, Bush or anyone in the Bush family for help in obtaining Guard slots. But the Post said he declined to comment when asked if an intermediary or friend of the Bush family had ever asked him to intercede on George W. Bush's behalf.

Both Bush, now governor of Texas and the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and his father, the former president, say they did not ask for any help with Guard officials and have no knowledge of assistance from Adger or anyone else, according to the newspaper.

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