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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 July, 2004, 04:40 GMT 05:40 UK
Bush 1972 payroll records 'found'
George W Bush during his time in the Texas Air National Guard
Mr Bush was a pilot but was never sent to war
The US defence department has released payroll records relating to President George W Bush's service in the Air National Guard in 1972.

Earlier this month the Pentagon said it had inadvertently destroyed the documents, but a spokesman said they have been found in the city of Denver.

Correspondents say they do not shed light on Mr Bush's movements that year.

Democrats have accused the president of ducking the draft call to Vietnam in favour of less dangerous duties.

The White House has released some records in a bid to refute the charges.

'Clerical error'

In 1972 Mr Bush moved to Alabama to work on a political campaign, and opponents say he failed to turn up for guard duties during this time.

The records do not show whether he attended training with the Alabama unit that July, August and September because attendance records are kept separately from payroll records.

A defence spokesman blamed a clerical error for the Pentagon's previous failure to find the microfilm payroll records.

"We're talking about a manual process for records that are over 30 years old," Bryan Hubbard said.

Previously, the Pentagon said the microfilm containing the records had apparently disintegrated as staff were trying to preserve it from decay.


Doubts were first raised nationally about Mr Bush's service during the 2000 presidential campaign and the issue has resurfaced as Mr Bush fights for re-election.

John Kerry campaigning
Kerry has said Bush must come clean on what he did

Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, has said Mr Bush must come clean on what he did.

A White House spokeswoman has said the documents already released prove beyond doubt that President Bush "fulfilled his duties in the National Guard at the time".

Mr Bush trained as a pilot while a member of the Texas and Alabama air national guard but never flew in combat.

He left the national guard in 1973 with an honourable discharge to attend Harvard Business School.

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