updated 8/28/2004 1:59:15 PM ET 2004-08-28T17:59:15

In a video posted on the Internet, Ben Barnes, a former Democratic speaker of the Texas House, said he is ashamed he helped President Bush and the sons of other wealthy families get into the Texas Air National Guard in 1968 so they could avoid serving in Vietnam.

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“I got a young man named George W. Bush into the National Guard when I was lieutenant governor of Texas, and I’m not necessarily proud of that, but I did it,” Barnes said in the 45-second video, which was recorded May 27 before a group of John Kerry supporters in Austin. Barnes, who was House speaker when Bush entered the Guard, later became lieutenant governor.

He said he became ashamed after walking through the Vietnam Memorial and looking at the names of people who died.

The video was posted June 25 on the Web site http://www.austin4kerry.org/ but didn’t get much attention until Friday, when Jim Moore, an Austin-based author of books about Bush, sent out e-mail messages calling attention to it, The New York Times reported in Saturday’s editions.

It was the first time Barnes, a Kerry supporter, has discussed his role in getting Bush into the Guard. In 1999, he said he recommended Bush for a pilot’s position at the request of a Bush family friend.

Bush has denied that family influence got him into the Guard.

“It is no surprise that a partisan Democrat is making these statements,” Bush spokeswoman Claire Buchan told the Houston Chronicle. “This was addressed five years ago, and there’s nothing new.”

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