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“He has had opportunity after opportunity to reverse his story and he has never done so,” says a longtime Bush associate. “Every time this story has been dredged up, Barnes has been forthright that he did what he did, but not at the direct behest of the Bush family.”
Just recently, Barnes, at the request of the Kerry campaign, made a videotape at a fundraising event in Texas that was distributed to reporters by Kerry operatives. On it, Barnes explained that, as lieutenant governor, he had recommended Bush for National Guard service. One problem: Barnes wasn’t lieutenant governor at the time. But this would be quibbling.
“Barnes comes off as very sympathetic,” says the news producer. “This is a guy who has been under intense, brutal pressure from a family that is very powerful in Texas. You get the impression that he just can’t take it anymore.
The CBS news source says that this Bush project is one that Dan Rather has been pushing for months. Former “60 Minutes” executive producer Don Hewitt had thought little of the project, claiming it was old news. Hewitt is now retired.
“This is clearly the Kerry campaign’s response to the Swift Vets controversy, and we predicted that it would happen,” says the Bush associate. “We’ve known it would come back at some point.”
“Mr. Barnes is his own man. We have had nothing to do with his decision to go public about his role in helping President Bush avoid serving his country in Vietnam,” says a Democratic operative in New York to help the DNC pushback on the GOP convention. “But Democrats for months, years, even have said the President Bush has not been forthcoming about his time or lack thereof in the National Guard. It would not be surprising if there were people who could add to the narrative.”p> WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS br> The John Kerry camp should be careful about how much mud it flings. According to media sources in New York for the campaign, a number of national media outlets have already completed or close to completing several major investigations into possible Kerry fundraising irregularities, as well as what one media source calls “devastating” stories of Kerry’s time in Paris when he was meeting with Communist Vietnamese officials. /p>
“Americans have no idea what Kerry was doing during that time in Paris,” says a journalist. “It makes the Swift Boat ads look lightweight by comparison.”p> FALLING ON DEAF CHEERS
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