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U.S. political candidates waging campaign war with PDFs

April 28, 2004

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Dueling military records for Bush & Kerry published in battle for Commander-in-Chief title

With separate but related military conflicts raging in Afghanistan and Iraq, it's no surprise that war has become a significant campaign issue between U.S. presidential opponents George Bush and John Kerry. Their political battle, however, has as much to do with the one fought in Vietnam several decades ago as with the current 'War on Terror.'

Some political pundits find it ironic that incumbent Bush is choosing to make military service a key point of comparison with Sen. Kerry, who was awarded three Purple Hearts and much high praise for his heroic U.S. Navy service (and who later led protests against the war). Meanwhile, Bush's stint in the Texas National Guard in the same era at best kept him stateside and out of harm's way -- and at worst, according to skeptics, might not have been satisfactorily fulfilled.

In any case, the respective campaigns have released a flurry of historic documents to support the claims of each candidate. The non-partisan Findlaw.com has posted both PDF-based collections:

  • Records of President George W. Bush's military service in the Texas Air National Guard and other assignments during the years 1968 to 1973

  • Military Service Records of Senator John F. Kerry's military service in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War

Their political combat will end with the November 2004 presidential election.

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