Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Do They Ever Tell the Truth?


FORT POLK, La. -- President Bush, dogged by questions about his Vietnam-era service in the Air National Guard, surrounded himself with a sea of military olive and beige yesterday, touting his credentials as commander in chief at an Army base that has sent thousands of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq and lunching with a soon-to-be-deployed group of guardsmen.

White House officials said Bush's campaign-style stop at Fort Polk had nothing to do with the controversy over gaps in his service record with the Air National Guard between May 1972 and May 1973.

"This event has been in the works for several weeks," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said.

But one officer at the base said Fort Polk received orders last week to begin preparing for the president's visit.