If this weird and unambiguous blurb hadn’t been in the first line of the article, We’d have chalked this up to a slip of the pen, or at worst an overzealous writer sneaking it in. From the Associated Press story, Pentagon Finds Bush’s Guard Records:
The Pentagon on Friday released newly discovered payroll records from President Bush’s 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, though the records shed no new light on the future president’s activities during that summer.
The context makes sense: the writer is saying that back in 1972, Bush would be the future president. Still, it’s an interesting choice to write it this way, when they could have used the pronoun “his” or “the then future president’s”. Our best guess is that AP writers must get paid by the word or something, or maybe they have the inside scoop. (Thanks Mike)
Pentagon Finds Bush’s Guard Records [AP/Miami Herald]