George W. Bush: Busted!

By Jake Tapper

Published November 4, 2000 8:48AM (EST)

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The same George W. Bush who has continually talked of "bringing honor and integrity to the White House" wouldn't even come clean about his own hidden criminal record until it was discovered by the press. Does Bush believe that repeating the vague and meaningless phrase "I made mistakes in my past" absolves him of the responsibility to be fully honest and truthful with the American people about his "youthful indiscretions" (at the age of 30)? Bush has based his campaign not on having better ideas, but on the claim to have better character and morality. Come to find out now, he doesn't. He's covered up this DUI arrest his entire political career.

-- John Steven Kret

I don't hold Bush's DUI conviction against him. I give him credit for cleaning up his act. What does concern me is his lack of judgment in ignoring one of the absolutely basic rules of politics: The cover-up is worse than the crime. Any political novice knows that something like this is bound to come out and that it probably will at the worst time. If he had brought the conviction up on his own terms earlier, it would be forgotten by now. Instead, he tried to push it under the rug, betrayed his party's and the voters' confidence and may lose the White House and Congress for the Republican Party. Definitely, poor judgment on George W. Bush's part.

I'm also rather disappointed in Bush for hiding behind his daughters. What lesson was he trying to teach them? I think any responsible parent would agree that the lesson to teach was that there are consequences for your actions and that getting drunk and driving can get you arrested and punished. Instead the lesson he taught them was that it's better to hide your mistakes and hope nobody catches on.

-- Ed Kennedy

I'm waiting for a slick-talking Republican mouthpiece or spin doctor to explain to me how Karen Hughes sounds any different from Clinton trying to explain how "it depends on what your definition of 'is' is." If this is the governor and his staff being "straightforward and honest," then God save us when he gets deceptive and obfuscatory. I guess it's hard to defend a 30-year-old "youth" who still kept boozing for 10 years after he was arrested for drunk driving. Of course, this could explain the "lost" National Guard years -- he was sleeping one off and someone forgot to wake him.

-- Christopher Barnes

In 1999, there were over 15,000 alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S. I consider drunk driving to be one of the most irresponsible behaviors imaginable. Problem drinking is only one issue; subjecting the rest of society to risk due to one's irresponsible behavior is truly appalling. For anyone to construe the revelation of George W. Bush's DUI arrest as anything other than a comment on the governor's character is an example of total intellectual dishonesty.

It is truly amazing to listen to the Bush campaign try to somehow spin this into an issue of alleged "dirty tricks" by the Gore campaign. This is an issue of George W. Bush's behavior and character, not Al Gore's. George W. Bush and his advisors knew that records of the DUI arrest were out there. They took a calculated risk that this incident would not be made public before the election. They gambled, and they lost.

As a physician, I am required by the state and by the hospitals at which I practice to divulge any history of alcohol or drug-related legal charges, treatment for alcohol or drug dependence, psychiatric treatment, etc. The reasons for this are obvious. Physicians are given a great deal of responsibility for the lives of others, often life-and-death responsibility. Should there be a lower standard for an individual who seeks the position of president of the United States? I think not. And to dismiss George W. Bush's DUI arrest as irrelevant because it occurred 24 years ago is ludicrous -- he was 30 years old at the time, and was certainly responsible for his behavior.

-- Steven K. Kulick, M.D.

As a substance abuse counselor who ran a program for convicted drunk drivers for eight years, I can definitely say that George Bush is not a recovering person, rather he is what those in the recovering community would call a "dry drunk." That means that he may have stopped drinking but he hasn't fixed his thinking.

Recovering people are not ashamed of the past nor do they wish to shut the door to it. They believe their experience can help others, especially their children. And, although a strong spiritual base is essential for recovery, no one believes that religion alone can do the job. It takes honesty with self and others, the contining support of other recovering people and, most important, a willingness to help others recover by sharing experience, strength and hope.

I almost get the feeling that Bush might have gone to an AA meeting or two and resented it. He recently said he didn't need any "fancy" treatment program to get better. But in truth, he did and still does. The most dangerous thing about a dry drunk is that now that they don't drink, they have all that energy to put into other selfish behavior and the concealing of that behavior.

-- C.J. Harrison

Judging from the events of the past eight years, many of Bush's supporters believe that one of the president's most important jobs is to be good example in chief to America's youth. While I do not have a problem with Bush's concealing the DUI arrest to protect his children (so long as he did not lie about it, which it now appears he did), once the specifics are made public, his ability to serve as a good example to children (his, yours or anyone's) is diminished.

-- Bradley Rolston

I love the way the defenders of the "integrity" candidate jump to the assertion that it was Democrats who unearthed this evidence of W.'s third arrest, as if that were some kind of great revelation. Are we supposed to be surprised that it wasn't Republican supporters who reported this information about the man who is about to take over as commander in chief? And are they suggesting that it would have somehow been better to keep this hidden? Bush is a hypocrite. His whole campaign of restoring dignity to the White House is a joke. This is just one example of thousands.

-- David Cogswell

Lying to a reporter is one thing. Why is no one asking if he disclosed the arrest on the forms required for a background investigation to get a security clearance? He must have the clearance for the intelligence briefings he is receiving and there is no "statute of limitations" for reporting arrests -- you must list them ALL.

This should have been the first question at the brief news conference after the disclosure.

-- R. Edward Morris

A few weeks ago, after one of Al Gore's exaggerations, the Republicans had been saying that you wouldn't hire someone who lied on their résumé. I worked for a time recently with a custodian who was an excellent worker. He showed up every day and did his job very well. He was fired when it was discovered that he had been arrested and convicted of something when he was in his late teens and had failed to report it on his job application. I felt that this was wrong but, if it applies to someone on the bottom of the pile, the rule should apply to someone at the top.

-- Stephen D. Morast

What bothers me isn't the fact that it happened or that he lied about it (or at least was less than candid about it to his daughters and this country), but the fact that here is a man running for the presidency of the United States whom we have little knowledge about. Bush often asks which Gore is showing up. I wonder which Bush we have in front of us -- the Bush whose image the media has conjured up, or the old Bush sans his drinking and drug problems? What else is there about this man that we don't know about?

-- Manuel I. Arrieta

My wife and I were undecided before yesterday. Now we intend to vote for Bush. I liked the way he stated, in a straightforward manner, that he made mistakes many years ago and has made changes to his life to better himself (no alcohol for the last 14 years). Bush will get our vote. We are tired of the Clinton/Gore years.

-- Paul Starn

The so-called American people would rather see an honest, likable guy who admits a few shortfalls become president than a arrogant, dishonest, do-what-it-takes-to-win guy.

Bush does have experience as a leader of a state government and he does have the knowledge and ability to assume the job of president. Look at Bill Clinton. To suggest the media is giving Bush a free ride is pretty crazy. There are many things that could be reported on both sides. Al Gore doesn't want the media pressing on any items or he would be caught, too. It would be nice to have honest, accurate reporting, not biased opinions.

-- Laura Smith

I am 48 years of age. I've made mistakes in my early years -- who hasn't? I've learned from them, I have not shared these learning experiences with my children or any one else. Why should I? The only way that these mistakes have been a benefit, is that I have learned from them! Give Bush a little room for being human.

Both Bush and Gore are servants to our country, they have been for a while -- many years since their indiscretions as young men. Please don't blow this out of proportion and distort the real issues. America, think, then vote!

-- David O. Dorsey

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George W. Bush