Tags: Bush | Pleaded | Guilty | DUI

Bush Pleaded Guilty to DUI

Thursday, 02 November 2000 12:00 AM

Speaking to reporters in West Allis, Wis., Thursday night, Bush said: "I am not trying to get away with anything. ... I have been very candid about my past.

"I told people I quit drinking, I am not going to drink, and I have not had a drink in 14 years," he said. "I've upheld the honor and integrity of my office.

"I've learned my lesson," he said. "I do find it interesting that [the report] came out four or five days before the election."

Earlier Thursday, Karen Hughes, Bush's communications director, said the governor has always acknowledged that he made mistakes in the past when he was drinking.

"In September of 1976, in Kennebunkport , Maine, where he was visiting his parents, Gov. Bush was stopped after leaving a bar where he had had several beers and was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol," said Hughes.

Hughes said Bush pleaded guilty and was convicted of misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol charges. He paid a $150 fine and had his driver's license suspended in Maine, but did not spend a night in jail, Hughes said.

"I hope that a mistake the governor made 24 years ago would not have an impact on the final days of this election."

The arrest was a tightly kept secret in the campaign and in Bush's family until the story surfaced Thursday evening, prompting the Bush campaign to issue its statement.

Bush's two daughters did not know about the arrest. The governor called them from Chicago as the news broke in the hopes of telling them himself.

Previously, Bush had acknowledged one other arrest related to a prank during his college days. Hughes said the college arrest and the one in Maine were Bush's only arrests.

Hughes questioned the timing of the report. "The timing of this information coming out about something that happened 24 years ago, and about which his daughters didn't even know, five days before the election is questionable.

The campaign of Democrat nominee Al Gore vehemently denied it had anything to do with leaking the news, Reuters reported.

"The Gore campaign had nothing to do with this, and this is just something that we're not commenting on,'' said Gore spokesman Chris Lehane. "It would be inappropriate to comment on this.''

Inquiries Thursday by UPI revealed the Bush arrest story was broken by reporter Erin Fehlau of the Fox affiliate in Maine, WPXT-TV. She said she was covering another story at the Portland courthouse Thursday afternoon when a police officer came up to her and said she heard some lawyers "all talking about" a rumor that Bush had been arrested for DWI back in 1976 in Kennebunkport.

Fehlau said she was able to track down a lawyer involved in the case and confirmed it through him, the secretary of state's office and the former Kennebunk police officer who made the arrest, whom she identified as Kevin Bridges.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Speaking to reporters in West Allis, Wis., Thursday night, Bush said: I am not trying to get away with anything. ... I have been very candid about my past. I told people I quit drinking, I am not going to drink, and I have not had a drink in 14 years, he said. I've...
Bush,Pleaded,Guilty,DUI
498
2000-00-02
Thursday, 02 November 2000 12:00 AM
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