Friday, October 22, 2004
Isn't it nice when new evidence restores an old, old story -- especially an underpublicized one -- to the national limelight? Our distinguished colleague Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla just came across this small bombshell from Knight-Ridder, which we are quite sure has nothing to do with George Bush's premature departure from the National Guard:
President Bush often has cited his work in 1973 with a now-defunct inner-city program for troubled teens as the source for his belief in "compassionate conservatism" . . . .
"I was working full time for an inner-city poverty program known as Project P.U.L.L.," Bush said in his 1999 autobiography, "A Charge to Keep." "My friend [the ex-Houston Oiler] John White ... asked me to come help him run the program. ... I was intrigued by John's offer. ... Now I had a chance to help people."
But White's administrative assistant and others associated with P.U.L.L., speaking on the record for the first time, say Bush was not helping to run the program and White had not asked Bush to come aboard. Instead, the associates said, White told them he agreed to take Bush on as a favor to Bush's father, who was honorary co-chairman of the program at the time, and Bush was unpaid. They say White told them Bush had gotten into some kind of trouble but White never gave them specifics.
"We didn't know what kind of trouble he'd been in, only that he'd done something that required him to put in the time," said Althia Turner, White's administrative assistant.
"John said he was doing a favor for George's father because an arrangement had to be made for the son to be there," said Willie Frazier, also a former player for the Houston Oilers and a P.U.L.L. summer volunteer in 1973.
Fred Maura, a close friend of White, refers to Bush as "43," for 43rd president, and his father as "41," for the 41st president.
"John didn't say what kind of trouble 43 was in - just that he had done something and he (John) made a deal to take him in as a favor to 41 to get some funding," Maura said.