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Ex-President Bush Defends His Son

October 19, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Former President George Bush said Tuesday that he is proud of son George W. Bush for being ``willing and strong enough to take the heat″ of allegations that arise during the course of a presidential campaign.

The older Bush was reacting to drug-related allegations about his son included in a new biography, ``Fortunate Son,″ by J.H. Hatfield. He called the allegations ``a vicious lie.″ His son said Monday, ``It’s totally ridiculous what he said and it’s not true.″

In a statement issued by his Houston office, the former president criticized the author’s use of anonymous sources. ``He has insulted our son’s character, and my character, and I resent it,″ Bush said. ``This kind of nasty, groundless attack is the reason that many good people are unwilling to enter politics.

``I am proud that George is willing and strong enough to take the heat even in the face of this kind of mindless garbage.″

The book alleges that the younger Bush was arrested for cocaine possession in 1972 but that the matter was dropped after he performed community service arranged by his father. The book’s allegations are based on anonymous sources. The book is at odds with other accounts of Bush’s life and the Texas court system.

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