Critics: President may have evaded Boy Scout service

By John Breneman

WASHINGTON -- New allegations have emerged regarding President Bush's service in uniform, this time involving his record in the Boy Scouts of America.

As critics hammer him over whether he evaded his duties in the National Guard, the president now faces tough questions about whether he actually earned several merit badges that have been awarded to him.

Bush is an outspoken supporter of the Boy Scouts and also serves as the organization's honorary president, but there is mounting evidence that he may have completely "blown off" the respected character-building organization as a youth.

A former Texas scoutmaster says he has no recollection of Bush ever having served in his troop and could produce no records that the future president was ever issued a uniform or penknife.

Nevertheless, Bush reportedly has received merit badges for Citizenship, Emergency Preparedness and Public Speaking. Critics charge that Bush's possession of the badges is a slap in the face to thousands of diligent young scouts who have earned them fair and square.

Eagle Scout Jimmy Barton, 16, of Whittler, Texas, said he guesses the president could make a case he earned the badges through his later service to the country, but he is not convinced.

"Citizenship and Emergency Preparedness I could understand, but Public Speaking? Please," said Barton. "I think he should give them back unless he wants to do the work. I had to report 15 suspicious neighbors to the Justice Department to get my Emergency Preparedness badge."

Bush responded to the allegations on "Meet the Press," saying, "I would be careful to not denigrate the Boy Scouts. It's fine to go after me, which I expect the other side will do. I wouldn't denigrate service to the Scouts, though."

Earlier today, the White House released dental records showing Bush had received treatment for a cavity caused by eating toasted marshmallows at a Boy Scout jamboree in 1960.

'Friends' cameo may boost president's approval rating

By John Breneman

Convinced that TV can reverse his sagging approval rating, President Bush's handlers have arranged for Sunday's unusual appearance on "Meet the Press" to be followed this Thursday by a surprise cameo on "Friends."

Eager to help the amiable chief executive, Ross uses his scientific knowledge to offer theories on what became of the weapons of mass destruction while Chandler quips that Saddam Hussein either flushed them down the toilet during a U.S. raid or "his dog ate them."

Bush's approval mark dipped to 48 percent this week as more people realized they don't appreciate it when their president tells them something as "fact" (Iraq's possession of weapons) that is actually a "load of crap."

The president, also dogged by his sketchy record of service in the National Guard, could gain a 7-8 percent bump in the polls if he did a guest spot on "JAG" outfitted in, say, a military flightsuit. This idea from his chief TV adviser was one of several detailed in a confidential memo obtained by the Humor Gazette.

Bush has been asked to appear on "Hardball with Chris Matthews," but the memo advises he is better suited to "Softball with Larry King." The president will avoid "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" in favor of some voter-friendly mugging on "This Week With George Foreman." The memo also reveals Bush ordered his aides not to book him on "Face the Damn Nation."

White House advisers even strategized about a reality show but agreed they didn't want Bush anywhere near Donald Trump. Discussions of a new program called "Joe President," in which a failed businessman from a prominent political family ruins the U.S. economy and turns much of the world against America, were quickly scuttled.

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