Got proof that President Bush fulfilled his National Guard duties? It could be worth $50,000.
Texans for Truth, a Democratic "527" organization that has attacked the president's service record, is offering a reward to anyone who can prove that Bush performed his duties in the Air National Guard between May 1972 and May 1973.
"If the president won't come clean that he dodged his military responsibilities in Alabama during the height of the Vietnam War, we'll continue our search for the whole story," said Glenn Smith, head of the group.
Bush received an honorable discharge from the guard in 1974 but has been dogged by questions surrounding unexplained gaps in his service. Texans for Truth's offer, which was announced on the same day that Bush addressed the National Guard Association of the United States, is only the latest -- and most lavish -- in a series of similar stunts designed to fill in those gaps or, barring that, embarrass Bush's campaign.
Earlier this year, Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau offered to donate $10,000 to the USO in the name of anyone who could provide similar evidence of Bush's service. During the 2000 presidential election, a small group of veterans offered $1,000 for such proof, a reward that a group called Democrats.com later offered to double.
But if you want Texans for Truth's money, which Smith said will come out of the group's approximately $400,000 kitty, you'll have to act fast -- the offer expires Sept. 30.
Off the Nader Bandwagon
A raft of former Naderites -- all celebrities, intellectuals, writers and activists -- have signed a petition urging voters living in swing states who might be tempted to vote for the independent presidential candidate to hold their noses and support Democrat John F. Kerry.
"We urge support for Kerry/Edwards in all swing states, even while we strongly disagree with Kerry's policies on Iraq and other issues," the petition said. "For people seeking progressive social change in the United States, removing George W. Bush from office should be the top priority in the 2004 presidential election."
The more than 70 signatories include actors Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon; former talk show host Phil Donahue; academics Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Cornel West; musicians Bonnie Raitt and Eddie Vedder; and social critic Barbara Ehrenreich.
"Our hope is that other people who basically have the same feelings as we do about the war, about domestic policy, but who are disgusted with the two candidates -- that they will rethink their position and see that this time is special and whatever difference there is between Bush and Kerry is a critical one," said Zinn, a historian.
Each of the signatories was named during the 2000 election to Nader's "citizens committee." Then, when Nader was running under the Green Party's banner, his campaign touted the group of more than 100 as evidence as his ability to appeal to a broader swathe of the electorate. But this year, his campaign dismissed the erstwhile supporters' petition as "insignificant."
"People make decisions on their own," spokesman Kevin Zeese said. "They don't make decisions based on what people tell them to do. I don't think it's a big problem for us."