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Clinton's Draft Deferrment

In the autumn of 1969, Clinton entered the draft but received a high number (311) and was never called to serve -- however, Clinton made every effort to avoid the draft prior to entering it.

First, Bill Clinton received education deferments while at Georgetown and Oxford (where he helped organize demonstrations against the war). Second, Clinton attempted to avoid the draft for four years by enrolling, but never joining, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Clinton had enrolled in the ROTC hoping to avoid military service for four years, but, wanting a future in politics, had a change of heart and entered the draft.

In December 1969, safe from the draft with his high lottery number, Clinton changed his mind about joining the ROTC program and wrote a letter to the director of the ROTC program thanking him "for saving me from the draft" and regretted misleading him by not revealing the extent of his opposition to the war. The letter was leaked by the Pentagon to ABC news early in the 1992 fueled criticism of candidate Clinton's character.

Later in the 1992 campaign, it became known that Clinton's uncle had attempted to get Bill Clinton a Navy Reserve assignment during the Vietnam war. Clinton said he didn't know anything about it to the press on September 3, 1992 but a day later admitted that a former draft board member had informed him of his uncles' attempt several months before.

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