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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

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 Ben Barnes to break silence on "60 Minutes"

Salon Magazine reports that Ben Barnes, the former lieutenant governor of Texas, will finally break his silence and talk to the press about what role he played in helping Bush get a coveted slot in the Texas Air National Guard in 1968. The interview will air a week from Sunday.

The national press, which for weeks has been amplifying factually challenged allegations against John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, has given Barnes' previous stunning remarks only cursory coverage. With Barnes now being featured in a sit-down interview with "60 Minutes," reporters may finally be forced to address the consistent curiosities of Bush's National Guard record.

Barnes has firsthand knowledge of how Bush was able to get into the Guard: "I got a young man named George W. Bush into the Texas National Guard ... I got a lot of other people in the National Guard because I thought that was what people should do when you're in office, and you help a lot of rich people." Recalling a recent visit to the Vietnam Memorial, Barnes added, "I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been, because it was the worst thing I ever did, was help a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm very ashamed."

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