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Asthma kept Biden out of military

DOVER, Del. — Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden received five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War, the same number of deferments received by Vice President Dick Cheney, and later was disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager.

Officials with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama's campaign released Biden's Selective Service records at the request of the Associated Press. Less detailed records were available from a National Archives facility in Philadelphia.

According to the documents, Biden, 65, received several deferments while he was an undergraduate at the University of Delaware and later as a law student at Syracuse University. A month after undergoing a physical exam in April 1968, Biden received a Selective Service classification of 1-Y, meaning he was available for service only in the event of national emergency.

"As a result of a physical exam on April 5, 1968, Joe Biden was classified 1-Y and disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager," said David Wade, a campaign spokesman.

In Promises to Keep, a memoir that was published last year and became an instant best-seller after he was tapped as Obama's running mate, Biden never mentions his asthma, recounting an active childhood, work as a lifeguard and football exploits in high school.

The Obama campaign pointed to media interviews from 1987, when Biden was making his first bid for the presidency, that mention his asthma.

Asthma kept Biden out of military 08/31/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 31, 2008 10:37pm]

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