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Polaroid Shows Bush Flying In Alabama In '72
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WASHINGTON - White House spokesman Scott McClellan called a press conference Thursday afternoon to release a Polaroid photo showing then Lieutenant George Bush flying an F-102A fighter jet. "Along with the pay records and the dental records, I hope this puts to rest the question of what the President was doing in 1972," he said, standing beside a three-foot blowup of the picture, "The President was serving, doing his duty, as he has maintained since the issue was raised. And I can tell you, he is very relieved to be exonerated by this evidence."

The photograph shows a couple smiling, arms around each other, standing next to a sign saying "Wind Creek State Park, Alabama Parks Division". The photo is dated November 10th, 1972. In the background, a fighter jet can be seen flying overhead. The picture was released to the press along with a blowup of the cockpit showing a smiling George Bush at the controls.

McClellan fielded several questions, mostly focusing on the apparent doctoring the image had received:

Q. Scott, I'm looking at this photo and then looking at the blowup and I have to say that I don't think there's enough detail here to tell who the pilot is. How was this blowup made?

Mr. McClellan: The blowup was made like any standard digitally zoomed photo is made. We asked a CIA forensics lab to clean it up and enhance all the details they could, but to my knowledge nothing's been added to the picture that wasn't there to start with.

Q. Scott, if I might continue Amy's question, the President's face in this blowup just doesn't look right. He looks older than he should for the time, the lighting on his face doesn't match, and if I had to characterize it, I'd say he looks like he's mugging for a photo that -- if the photo is genuine -- he wouldn't have known was being taken. You're saying this isn't a doctored photo?

Mr. McClellan: It's a standard blowup, digitally enhanced -- digitally focused, if you will, -- by CIA experts. Nobody has doctored anything. This puts the question to rest of what the President was doing in November of 1972. He was doing his duty. Next question.

Q: Scott, how was this picture obtained? I would think if it was available in 2000, we'd've seen it before. I assume it was recently discovered?

Mr. McClellan: Absolutely it was recent. We would have loved to be able to exonerate the President before now. As I understand it, the photo was sent anonymously to the White House. We have not identified the people in the photograph, we don't know who took it, or who sent it.

"The photo raises as many questions as it answers," said current Democratic front-runner John Kerry, "Is that really Bush? Is this photo genuine? Who provided it? Without solid answers to those questions, I am taking this 'evidence' with a grain of salt. Make that a teaspoon of salt."

The photo and a transcript of the press conference are available on the White House web site.
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