YORK (CNN) -- A business school professor who
taught George W. Bush at Harvard University in
the early 1970s says the future president told
him that family friends had pulled strings to
get him into the Texas Air National Guard.
Tsurumi, in his first on-camera interview on the
subject, told CNN that Bush confided in him during
an after-class hallway conversation during the
1973-74 school year.
admitted to me that to avoid the Vietnam draft,
he had his dad -- he said 'Dad's friends' -- skip
him through the long waiting list to get him into
the Texas National Guard," Tsurumi said. "He thought
that was a smart thing to do."
the campaign has not responded directly to Tsurumi's
allegations, White House Communications Director
Dan Bartlett said last week, "Every time President
Bush gets near another election, all the innuendo
and rumors about President Bush's service in the
National Guard come to the forefront."
has said in the past that neither he nor his father
sought special treatment for him. "Any allegation
that my dad asked for special favors is simply
not true," he said in 1999.
said Vietnam was a top topic among the 85 students
in his class, when he was a visiting associate
professor at Harvard from 1972 to 1976. He now
teaches at Baruch College in New York.
I couldn't stand -- and I told him -- he was all
for the U.S. to continue with the Vietnam War.
That means he was all for other people, Americans,
to keep on fighting and dying."
got to know Bush when the future president took
his "Economics EAM" (Environmental Analysis for
Management), a required two-semester class from
the fall of 1973 to the spring of 1974, Bush's
first year at Harvard's business school.
had transferred to Air National Guard reserve
status before he enrolled in the MBA program.
He had enlisted in the Texas Air National Guard
in May 1968 and trained to fly fighter jets until
he was suspended from flying status in August
1972 for failing to submit to an annual physical,
according to Bush's military records released
earlier this year.
said he remembers Bush because every teacher remembers
their best and worst students, and Bush was in
the latter group.
He didn't come to my class prepared," Tsurumi
said. "He did very badly."
concedes that he disapproves of Bush's politics.
He wrote a letter to the editor of his hometown
newspaper, the Scarsdale Inquirer, that derided
the president's claims to "compassionate conservatism."
I found him totally devoid of compassion, social
responsibility, and good study discipline," Tsurumi
said. "What I remember most about him was all
the kind of flippant statements that he made inside
of classroom as well as outside."
says he is not working for any Democratic group
for the Kerry campaign. "The only activity I do
is to vote for him," Tsurumi said.
Tsurumi has been speaking out against Bush by
giving newspaper and radio interviews.
professor's comments come as a former Texas politician,
former state House Speaker and Lieutenant Governor
Ben Barnes, has said it was he got Bush into the
a Democrat supporting John Kerry, says he called
the head of the Texas unit in 1968, at the request
of a Bush family friend. Bush's father was then
a U.S congressman.
Jonathan Wald and Jennifer Icklan contributed
to this story. Story Tools
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