November 26th, 2007
08:39 AM ET
10 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. Maria, Houston

    Ha! ...so "most of us engaged in indiscretions we would not want to parade..." – it makes me wonder WHAT is Mitt hiding? 🙂

    This is no news... Barack Obama is honorable and honest man and CNN, again just trying to stir the controversy. Is this is the worst you could dig out on the guy?

    In the meantime Hillary Clinton is claiming 35 years of POLITICAL experience, doing what? 8 years First Lady + 7 years Junior Senator. Questionable, but even than – where are those TWENTY more years coming from? Working for the law firm and being the governor's wife? In Little Rock, Arkansas?!
    WHO IS SMOKING NOW?

    November 25, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Rob Aquiar, Tobyhanna PA

    First off lets not dwell on the simple fact that he used marijuana. He admitted that he did it because he was asked, just like Clinton was asked and he answered. He even admitted that it was a mistake. Most people are faulting obama for being honest when most U.S. citizens are praising Bush for going into Iraq (supported by lies). There isnt much honesty in politics these days. Obama is a refreshment.

    November 25, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Jo Momma

    Obama earns my respect because he didn't dodge the question like others(*coughRomneycough*). Cliton's running scared, it's going to be Obama so she may as well go back to the senate seat she only won because of name recognition anyway.

    Obama in '08, baby!

    November 25, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Kandra, Phoenix, AZ

    I am offended that Romney would think that people can't handle the truth. It shows poor judgment on his part to think that people are so easily influenced by people in the public. The point was Obama chose honesty over being condescending.There is no point in lying or denying the decisions you made in your life. All that does is make people trust you less. Especially when drug usage is a part of each and every Americans' life in some form or another. We are all impacted by this epidemic. And honesty will help us find a way to end it.

    November 25, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. JB Boston MA

    AConcernedCitizen in CA-

    You are one angry individual. Before you go crazy with anger because of some peoples lack of intelligence, make sure you get your info correct.

    CLINTON WAS IMPEACHED.

    It's people like you blah blah blah

    And last I checked Hillary had to become a carpetbagger and move to a blue state in order to gain a seat in the senate. If my memory serves me correctly that is THE ONLY TIME SHE HAS RUN FOR ANYTHING!

    November 25, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Steve, San Ramon, CA

    This isn't news. He's made this exact comment a long time ago.

    November 25, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. James,Nashua,nh

    I wouldn't ask for more from Sen.Obama. Why should I?. I just want a leader who can tell me the truth even if is hard to. Happy to have Sen. Obama at this critical time in my lifetime where I have been told lies by GW Bush. YOu go sen. You have my vote!

    November 25, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Captain-Sky

    I'am Curious About One Thing You Die Hard Obama Fans,What Does Hilliary Has To Do With Obama Admitting He's A Pot Smoker,And A Junkie,And Bill To As For As That Matters.It's About Time For You People To Except Reality,And That Is Obama Is Responsible For His Own Actions And Not Bill,&Hilliary,Every Time Something Negative Comes Out About Obama,It's Hilliary's Fault,Well In That Case We Shoud Vote Hilliary In As President,Since She Is Responsible For All Of Obama's Misgiving's.I Wonder Since He's So Honest Will He Find Those 10 Years Of His Tenure As A State Legislative,Since He Claims He Has So Much Experience,Where Are His 10 Year Background,You Know The Ones That Show's Who Your PAC's,& Lobbyist's Are Answer I Don't Have Any Records,That;s The Biggest Bunch Of Crap That I Ever did Won't to Hear.Mr Obama Could Go Out And Commit The Unspeakable Crimes And You People Will Follow That LIAR Straight Into Prison.

    November 25, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. E, STL, MO

    Who doesn't smoke weed? I mean America really needs to get over itself and keep it real, the only reason weed is not legal is because the government isn't getting tax money from it! WAKE UP! Once the government gets its hand hit it will be legal. To the person who said I can't believe I gave $200 to Obama, grow up come out of your perfect white world and realize at one time or another almost everyone has tried weed and if you think any of the other people running for president haven't you are in a dream world they just don't have the balls to admit it. I mean George Bush is a drunken idiot and no one seems to care about that. They want to charge Barry Bonds for lying about using steroids how about charge George Bush for lying about WMD'S!!!!! Let’s get real America and start worrying about stuff that actually matters!

    November 25, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Elisabeth, Burlington, VT

    At least we can trust Obama's answer. I wouldn't believe Clinton's answer no matter what she said. That is the difference between the two for me. Bill Clinton was "slick Willy;" his wife is "slick Hill(ar)y."

    November 25, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Rob, Plainfield, IN

    Please legalize pot.

    November 25, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Matt S., Portland, OR

    The more Mr. Obama is honest, the better he'll do in the elections. People are so tired and fed up with liars and cheats in the white house, they are hungry for real change. The kind of change that can only be brought upon by electing someone completely new and ready to face the challenges ahead. New ideas, a new voice...it's time. Obama08!

    November 25, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Don Houston,TX

    Honesty is always the best policy. Unlike our current leadership he told the truth. And if you think Bush didn't snort/inhale something you nuts. With all the booze he drank he probably wouldn't remember. Lets move on to more important issues.

    November 25, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. chavez,Alexander,IOWa

    I rather have Obama 1000times than Mitt Romey. Mr. Romney will do anything to be a president even if it means rigging. He has been changing everyday in his state of Mass. I believe in Obama and I vote for him if he get nomination. I am a republican for Obama.

    November 25, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. cathy,boston,ma

    I am having this great admirition of senator Obama. I would love to have him as my president even though I know the burden will be huge, but if he get two terms and work tirelessly then we certainly have someone to depend on. Go Obama!

    November 25, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. jamin,tx

    Independent here for Obama. Go Barack!

    November 25, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. jacob,charles,s.c

    I am a conservative but I have been having this passion about what Barack is for. It has been along time our country ever cared for the small guy. I am really looking forward to vote for him no matter what will happen. I have been so tired with this cronies in the white house.

    November 25, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. Geoff, Princeton, NJ

    It makes me laugh to think that a) pot still has such a sinister quality about it after all these years, and b) that people think Obama is the only person who has done drugs since he's the only one who admitted to it. You ever been to college? You ever been a fraternity brother at a rich school? Hell, not even a brother, most of the rich kids were trying stuff out. You've got to be kidding me. This is just another example of how ignorance promotes stupidity.

    November 25, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. A.P. Stanco, Prospect, CT.

    "Let he who is without past indescretions run for President of the U.S."

    November 25, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. A.P.Stanco, Prospect, CT.

    To Mitt Romney,

    Can't you do better than that?
    Judging from your remark .... you really have nothing to say!

    A.P. Stanco

    November 25, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. jayne,boston,ma

    You go Barack, we got your Back!

    November 25, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. spinstopper

    "it would concern him much more if people were allowed to grow their own to use whenever.. "

    Trillions of dollars spent by the federal government to stopped it and yet I see it growing in my neighbors backyard every year.. How much more of our tax dollars are dems going to spend on health care insurance for all Americans again??

    November 25, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. Fred, North Ridgeville, Ohio

    You're all a bunch of morons. He had to answer this question because he was asked it, not because he wanted to talk about it. Jeez, who hasn't done drugs as a kid? Even the sheltered suburbanites are not safe!

    Get a life, mainstream media.

    November 25, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. W.D. Maryland

    Romnety needs to wakeup! And deal with issus and stop trying to score political points! Thank you Obama for being real and truthful!

    November 25, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Frank, Dayton, Ohio

    Obama a "druggie" for trying drugs once or twice? Give me a break, people. If all of the men and women of Obama's generation who experimented with drugs were eliminated from running for president, there would hardly be anybody left. Remember, even the sanctimonius GW Bush was convicted of DWI and confessed that he had a drinking problem.

    At least, Obama came out and admitted it without dodging the issue.

    November 25, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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