Friday, September 10, 2004

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe today said neither his organization nor John Kerrys campaign leaked to CBS documents questioning President Bushs service record, which may have been forged.

He suggested White House adviser Karl Rove could be behind the documents.

“I can unequivocally say that no one involved here at the Democratic National Committee had anything at all to do with any of those documents. If I were an aspiring young journalist, I think I would ask Karl Rove that question,” Mr. McAuliffe said.

Asked later if he believed Mr. Rove or Republican operatives were involved, he said: “I am telling you that nobody — Democratic National Committee or groups associate with us — were involved in any way with these documents. I am just saying I would ask Karl Rove the same question.”

He did not explain how the White House would benefit by providing forged documents trying to undermine Mr. Bushs service record, but emphasized that he “can unequivocally speak for the Kerry campaign” in saying they had nothing to do with the documents either.

The documents, whose authenticity are being questioned by experts who say the type face used may not have existed when they were supposed to have been written, became the center of the political world Wednesday when CBS reported about them on “60 Minutes.”

They show Mr. Bush ignored a direct order to get a physical from Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who died in 1984, and was then grounded as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. CBS said it stands by its reporting and that the documents were “thoroughly examined.”

The Prowler, an Internet political column, is reporting that the documents attributed to Col. Killian were given to a DNC staffer “more than six weeks ago.” It says the documents were handed over to the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.

News outlets have reported that both the son and wife of Col. Killian, said while one of the documents sounded authentic, they doubted Col. Killian would have written another that said he was encouraged to “sugar coat” Mr. Bushs performance.

The White House and Bush campaign did not immediately return calls for comment, nor did Mr. Kerrys campaign.

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