A Republican official who worked with George Bush in an Alabama campaign in 1972 said she recalled him talking about his National Guard duty and seeing him in uniform before the election that year.
Jean Sullivan, an Alabama party leader who worked with Bush in a Senate campaign in 1972, said she recalled even then hearing rumours about whether Bush was fulfilling his Guard obligations.
She blamed those rumblings on some within the Alabama Guard who were resentful because Bush was from Texas and was spending only the minimum amount of required time on duty.
“It was just some idiots,” said Sullivan.
“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Sullivan, a former Republican national committeewoman from Selma, said as the rumpus about Bush’s Vietnam-era service persisted.
Democrats, trying to turn Bush’s record into a campaign issue, have suggested he shirked his duty.
The Democratic National Committee brushed aside an administration attempt to quell the controversy by releasing records of a dental examination done on an Alabama National Guard base in January 1973 – after Bush was said to have returned to Texas.
“They raise more questions than answers,” DNC communications director Debra DeShong said.
“Why was the president in Alabama getting his teeth checked when we were told he was in Texas at that time?”
The White House said that the dental record is evidence that he was with the Guard in Alabama.
Press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush returned to Texas after Blount lost the election but came back to Alabama later.
Bush has said that he performed the duty with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Alabama but that he cannot recall exactly what he did.
More than a dozen members of the 800-person unit, including its commander, said this week they have no recollection of Bush.