Clinton strongly denies special draft treatment

September 03, 1992|By Staff Report

WASHINGTON -- Bill Clinton, faced with new and potentiall damaging questions about his draft record, last night vehemently denied he had sought or received special treatment.

The questions stemmed from news reports that the Democratic nominee's uncle had lobbied to keep Mr. Clinton from being called up during the Vietnam War.

Mr. Clinton, who previously said he "never received any unusual or favorable treatment" to avoid induction, denied knowledge of the reported lobbying efforts.

"It's all news to me," he said while campaigning Tuesday night in Maryland. "I have told the truth about my draft status," he said, referring to past statements, including a speech last week to the American Legion in which he said he was going to "set the record straight" about his draft record but did not mention a lobbying effort by his uncle.

However, last night he made his most forceful denial.

"It's absolutely not true," Mr. Clinton told reporters following a speech to a Hispanic group in Washington. "I find it amazing that you could still be asking me questions, coming from Republicans who were opposed to me . . . based on their memories of 23 years ago."

The latest allegations about Mr. Clinton's draft history were first reported in yesterday's editions of the Los Angeles Times.

Republicans quickly pounced. "Governor Clinton has a credibility problem," Vice President Dan Quayle told CBS-TV yesterday in Kansas City, Mo. "He is going to have to come clean with the

American people. He has to answer these questions."

The Times' story focused on the efforts of Raymond Clinton, Mr. Clinton's now deceased uncle, to enable his nephew to pursue overseas study at a time when he faced probable induction and possible service in the Vietnam War, which the young Mr. Clinton opposed.

The story was based largely on information supplied by Henry M. Britt, who was Raymond Clinton's attorney and who said he helped the uncle in his lobbying efforts. Corroboration was provided by a retired Naval Reserve officer and a former %J Republican member of Mr. Clinton's draft board, the Times said.

Neither the retired officer nor Mr. Britt, who ran for governor of Arkansas as a Republican in 1960, had made public statements before.

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