November 26th, 2007
11:58 AM ET
15 years ago

Romney: Candidates shouldn't detail their youthful indiscretions

Romney said presidential candidates shouldn't get too detailed about their youthful indiscretions.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Saturday presidential candidates shouldn't go into detail about indiscretions in their youth because they may set a bad example for children.

Romney's comments came in response to a question about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's recent comments in Iowa about his past marijuana use.

"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," Romney said. "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.

"And so I think I subscribe to what President Bush said during his campaign," Romney continued. "He said when he was young and irresponsible, he was 'young and irresponsible' and he left it at that."

Earlier Saturday, Obama was asked by an Iowa voter if he ever inhaled while smoking marijuana.

"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 added. "The point was to inhale. That was the point."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Mary, Mountain View, CA

    This is so stupid. It's one thing to brag about the dumb things one does as a youth, which Romney seems to think Obama is doing.

    But it's another thing to admit to having done something wrong in the past and be contrite about it, which really Obama is doing.

    I applaud Obama for being able to answer an invasive question and teach a message to today's youth at the same time.

    November 26, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Romney: Candidates shouldn't detail their youthful indiscretions

    OK – what is Mitt trying to hide?

    November 26, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Jed in Texas

    Yea, like how they cheated on their third child bride?? lmao

    November 26, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    Yep and everything you do is kept in the closet. HIde it from the kids while the kids hide it from you. Can we say "DISFUNCTIONAL" Family

    November 26, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. J. Bluefield, Olympia, WA

    Why, Mitt? You got something to hide?

    November 26, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. concerned! ny ny

    Hiding the truth and not being honest, specially when running for president, does not make you, Mitt, presidential material, sorry!

    November 26, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. Seam, Philly, Pa

    Hey Romney, Obama revealed these childhood experiences waaay before becoming a Presidential Candidate. Most people are mad because Obama isn't status-quo. If Obama had not revealed these things, I bet every opposing candidate would have no problem bringing his past to light in order to create dirty laundry.

    November 26, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. JR, des moines, iowa

    Obama was just inexperienced or stupid in telling his indiscretions when young. Or, was he forced to do so because he feared that Novak might diclose his indiscretions?

    Anyway, it is funny to see Obama's supporters has glorified his "sins",and made them appearing to be a cult.

    November 26, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. jms, Tn

    If you can not be truthful about your past, you should not be running for president.

    November 26, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. jayne,boston,ma

    It is really good to see Mitt getting Nervous of Obama. He never counted him before now he is afraid he is going to be shown dust. What a pity to come around the last minute!

    November 26, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. erika morgan black dimond wa

    This is soo rich from a candidate of the party who endorsed the swift boat ads. My "God" their motto is destroy the character of the opponent with any lie, and hide my dirty linen as though it was a state secret. Just calling it as I hear it!

    November 26, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. nancy,newton,iowa

    Focus on your party Mitt. Can you tell us alittle about those being fund raised by Brothels?

    November 26, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  13. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Mitt Romney is right, it is shameful behavior, that kind of candidate is a negligible person for the President.

    November 26, 2007 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  14. Arnez, Culver City, CA

    I can't believe we are deciding whether to allow an admitted criminal into the white house. He violated the law when he smoked the marijuana. Unfortunately, he failed to pay the price because he managed to avoid being caught in his crime. This is reason for Obama to step down.

    November 26, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  15. Les B. Honest, Mytown, USA

    To get a sense of what kind of leader - and what kind of human being Mitt Romney truly is, take a look at this video. (It's short.)

    November 26, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  16. James,Nashua,nh

    I think Romney has reached a point of desperation especially now that Oprah is hitting the trail for Obama. What a looser!
    Obama 08!

    November 27, 2007 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  17. John, Brooklyn, NY

    Hmmmm....sounds like he's avoiding the topic. C'mon Mitt, none of us buy that you are a perfect as your press image.

    November 27, 2007 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  18. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    yes ...let's all keep our secrets ... do as I say – don't do as I did .... how do you spell hypocrisy? If Mitt (like Bush) won't tell the truth on these issues, we can be sure they continue to tell us just what they think we "need to know" –

    Don't look at the man behind the curtain ...

    November 27, 2007 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I find that troubling since in this day that the media and other up to smear people will do that - dig into a candidate's past. If someone is up front about it and honest that he view that time in his youth as wasted, that is a good thing. Obama did note that he considers the time with drugs as wasted.

    November 27, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. JC Topeka, KS

    Perhaps it might be better if you had no youthful indiscretions that were in fact violations of the law to begin with. I think its called taking responsibility for yourself.

    November 27, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Nicosia, Petersburg,Va

    Mitt did you ever think that people actually stood up and took responsibility for their actions we wouldn't be in such a pickle that we are in today?

    November 27, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |