November 26th, 2007
08:39 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama: Yes, I inhaled—that was the point

Obama discussed his past drug use Saturday.

AUDUBON, Iowa (CNN) - Earlier this week in New Hampshire Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke candidly about his past experimentation with drugs and alcohol in high school, and on Saturday—after a question on medicinal marijuana—Obama was prodded a bit further and asked whether or not he had ever inhaled.

"I did," the senator from Illinois said to light applause. "It's not something I'm proud of. It was a mistake as a young man."

The question was a reference to a line made famous by former President Bill Clinton who, while admitting to trying marijuana, said he did not inhale.

"I never understood that line," Obama continued. "The point was to inhale. That was the point."

On the campaign trail on Saturday, GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney said Obama's earlier comments set a bad example for young people.

"I agree with the sentiment that nobody's perfect and most of us, if not all of us, in our youthful years have engaged in various indiscretions we wouldn't want to have paraded in the front of a newspaper," the former Massachusetts governor said in New Hampshire. "On the other hand if we're running for president, I think it's important for us not to go into details about the weaknesses and our own failings as young people for the concern that we open kids thinking that it's ok for them."

On the issue of medicinal marijuana, Obama said that if the "best way to relieve pain and suffering is through medicinal marijuana," then it's something he's open to.

He added it would concern him much more if people were allowed to grow their own to use whenever they were simply "feeling really tense" and "needed a joint."

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • Race to '08
soundoff (494 Responses)
  1. Christine Bentley

    Oh my....a man is being honest about his past (a rarity in politics I must say) It doesn't change my opinion of Mr.Obama. Rather, I find it refreshing! I don't feel that it is sending the wrong message to our young people. I think it sends the message that- Yes, I made some wrong choices in my youth but I also chose to change my actions. What better message is there!

    November 26, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. Ben, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Is this Rob guy above me serious? First off, Obama's not a Muslim, he's Christian. He worships at a Christian church, raised his kids Christian and took his oath of office on the Bible. Secondly, it's not "Civil Liberties" it's called the Constitution you dimwit. You know, that whole "freedom of religion" thing? It doesn't say anywhere in the Constitution or its Amendments that only god fearing Christians can serve their country. Last I checked, we even have an Atheist Senator (God help us!). Not allowing someone to run for office because of their religion goes directly against the foundations that this country was founded.

    November 26, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Wow...such racist posts from so-called liberals and democrats. What a shame.

    November 26, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  4. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Wow...such racist posts from so-called liberals and democrats. What a shame.

    November 26, 2007 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  5. swissdiver

    If the point is to inhale it's because Obama is a real Junkie, a nincompoop Junkie. I wouldn't want a President who was a former marijuana user, who can't respect our flag, who had numerous unpaid parking tickets for many years,who knows nothing about foreign policy, who has the worst attendance record in the Senate, who always bluffs with pure nonsense, who is plain conceited and who has a middle name of Hussein to be my President. No way Jose!!

    November 26, 2007 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  6. Chris, Green Bay, WI

    Are you people serious?! How can Republicans or Democrats fault Obama for this? BUSH DID COKE!! Look it up anywhere. Yes, America's current president experimented with cocaine. Clinton experimented with marijuana. It's obvious that youthful experimentations have little to no effect on what America thinks of a candidate. Ask your husband/wife/best friend if they've ever done anything like that. The majority of people, not limited to America, HAVE experimented.
    REPS- remember your president Bush did coke
    DEMS- remember Clinton smoked pot
    AMERICA- look up past presidents affiliations with marijuana and you'll be amazed.
    quit looking for stupid ways to bash candidates you don't like, it's lame

    November 27, 2007 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  7. Jennifer, des moines, IA

    The more I listened to Obama on TV and in town hall meetings, the less I like Obama as a person and as a candidate.

    NoBama 08.

    November 27, 2007 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. Jennifer, des moines, IA

    Obama is a loser. He has lost my vote.

    November 27, 2007 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  9. Mary, des moines, IA

    Next time, I will not bring my son to hear obama talk. He will be a bad role model to my son to hear him goofing off & taking drugs at school, being lazy at home, and smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day.

    NoBama 08.

    November 27, 2007 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  10. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    What do you think the results would be if we had to drug-test every elected official?

    If, in the private sector, you must first pass a drug screening to obtain employment then why are our elected officials not subjected to the same kind of scrutiny?

    Maybe then, the losers would be asked to leave and the winners would come in and take this country in the right direction. It's sure a nice thought, huh?

    November 27, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  11. JJ Jax, FL

    Republicans and Clintonistas are angry on this ticker because Obama eliminated the relevance of a topic they could have swift-boated him with. But instead of dodging the answer,(like Clinton. Which one? Take your pick.) he answered honestly and admitted he made a mistake. OMG, an HONEST politician? Bet the Repbus and Clinton-lovers are scarred now...

    P.S. Hey Rob Cuba, your racism is showing...

    November 27, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Jude, Fresno, CA:

    1) I am not running for president so I don't have to disclose my accomplishments to anyone. When I do – you will see and hear the full list of my accomplishments.

    2) Don't assume being a "produce manager at Publix" yourself that everyone else is.

    3) What's Obama's "record of service"? You mean one-term senator that does not even cast his vote on any important issues? You are laughable.

    Sorry, that was a low blow on your part.

    November 27, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. bestmick, martinsburg WV

    sure Jeremy, Obama is a buffoon but Clinton is a scheming skank, I'll vote for the dimwit Biden

    December 15, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. JB

    Can anyone say Barrack HUSSEIN Obama? Why has the media not questioned and traced Obama's religious and political history? Could it be that the Americian press and brain washed Americian people in Iowa and New Hampshire ignore
    a movement that generally subscribes to the theory of destruction of the USA.

    January 7, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  15. Starr

    Again, Obama is squeezing the "change" message, and I love it! Integrity drives such answers as this. That's change. His core values are a far cry above the Clintons who even stole as many items from the White House as they could get loaded into the moving truck when they left. Does ANYONE remember that?

    I'm a Republican who is seriously considering a vote for Obama. Character DOES matter.

    January 8, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Do we really want someone who is a poor decision maker to run our country? Not only that but he's acts like he dispises everything about America.

    January 8, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. Joy Moore

    Obama -has no experience -what has he ever done –have you ever witnessed him working hard on anything–we need someone who gets things done–Go Hilary!

    January 9, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  18. Chris



    I was telling my 10 year old daughter that I am trying to choose a President based on their strength of charecter, and their judgement. My daughter then pointed out that Obama smokes. How was i suppose to explain that.

    It speaks to weakness on a regular basis, poor judgement, giving in to addiciton.

    I'm not saying it's reason enough to not vote for him, but we are trying to hang our hat on reasons to vote for him, and this just made me think, "um, no"

    January 17, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  19. Pat







    January 17, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
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