November 27th, 2007
02:05 PM ET
15 years ago

Talking about drug use on the trail - Obama too honest?

Mitt Romney said Saturday candidates shouldn't go into too much detail about their youthful indiscretions.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Does a good role model talk about using illegal drugs?

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama started the debate when he admitted to a high school audience in New Hampshire that he had experimented with drugs while he was in high school.

"There were times when I got into drinking, experimenting with drugs. There was a stretch of time where I did not really apply myself," Obama said.

He added that when he left for college he realized he wasted a lot of time using drugs.

"It's not something I'm proud of," Obama said. "It was a mistake as a young man."

What a change from Bill Clinton's 1992 admission that he had smoked marijuana a time or two and didn't like it. "And I didn't inhale and didn't try it again."

Full story

- CNN's Carol Costello

soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. JJ Jax, FL

    Simon is only want them to be secretive so that you can swiftboat 'em with it in the general election...

    November 27, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. jj,newton,Iowa

    Mitt Romney is getting nervous and desperate now that Obama is riding up high and Oprah has pledged to stump for him. C'mon Mitt, you can flip flop like you did in mass and get the votes. There are people who like it that way anyway when politically convinient!

    November 27, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Jackson

    Mitt Romney said Saturday candidates shouldn't go into too much detail about their youthful indiscretions.

    Sounds like Romney doesn't have a problem maintaining the status quo by asking parents to endanger their kids through lying about drug and alcohol use.

    If Romney gets elected, I'm pretty sure we can look to another 4 years of headlines showing how his shared ideals with the social "Hallelujah" conservatives fail at every turn, whether it be in how drug and alcohol education is treated, or sex education.

    Because apparently knowledge doesn't equal power to him and the candidates like him.

    November 27, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. J.Crobuzon

    Mitt never did drugs in college, but he DID have six wives.

    November 27, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Jimenez - Texas

    I am not a republican but have to agree w/Romney. We don't tell our children everything and for good reason. We are their role models. According to a 2007 Pew Research poll, 45 percent of Americans would be less likely to support a candidate for president who had used drugs. I'd rather vote for Romney than for the inhaler Obama.

    November 27, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. monica, rochester new york

    According to Steve Pasierb, president of Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Obama is right on the money.

    Romney should not be so judgemental about this issue that clearly is not black and white. Especially when the experts on the subject think Obama's approach is the right one. If Romney is not willing to be straightforward about this issue, what else is he being less than truthful about? He feels comfortable deciding "we can't handle the truth".

    November 27, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. dave,halifax.nova scotia

    Yes by all means LIE.Do you think anyone believed clinton?It continually amazes that in the US pot is still the devil weed.Why is it even a question that has to be asked?.Try electing a president that can actually can run the country.

    November 27, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. John, Washington Dc

    I completely support Obama's decision to be transparant about his youthful 'indescretions'. He did the right thing. I want to know my President is going to be truthful with me, on everything.

    November 27, 2007 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Rob, Lexington SC

    I am glad that Obama shows that we in America can finally have an honest presidential candidate. Would Hillary ever be that honest?? Judging by her spouses comments I would say not. After all he did not inhale or have sex with that woman. Honesty will get you a long way.

    November 27, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. monica, rochester new york

    Jiminez from Texas, then I'd say those 45% of Americans won't have many candidates to choose from and they better take back their votes from those who've been elected in the past. I'd bet even Romney has used drugs but I guess we'll never get a straight answer out of him, so you're free to support him with the blissful ignorance you demand.

    November 27, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Matthew Jaworski, Fort Myers, FL

    Believe it or not, the average person in this country has experimented with drugs. Anyone that tries to deny this is either blind or ignorant.

    I find it very refreshing that some candidates are actually being honest and upfront about their pasts.

    The people are ready for some honesty. The more human the candidates appear, the more appealing they will be to the open-minded voting populace.

    Oh wait, I almost forgot! This is the United States. What was I thinking talking about open-mindedness...

    November 27, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  12. David, Encinitas, CA

    Why are so many republicans such moralistic hypocrites? You should lie to your kids and expect them to a) believe you and b) respect you? That's a great role model.

    It's also ok to have your facts completely wrong with regards to drug policy as well, at least that's what McCain would have us believe. It seems to me that a free-market supporting republican would be all for legalization of at least marijuana, and the substantial reduction of government spending on the drug war as well as the costs of incarcerating non-violent drug offenders. Rather, Mitt and his ilk would rather have us waste our tax dollars and lie to our kids.

    November 27, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. H Arnold, Chicago, IL

    Who cares about the candidates past drug use.....the issue should be, do you use drugs now and what is your philosophy about them. Then leave it alone....We ask the wrong questions. I want to know what direction that they will take the country...i.e. Iraq, Iran, the military, getting out of the war, dealing with the economy, foreclosures, infrastructure, jobs, stocks, etc. etc. etc.

    November 27, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. David, Dallas Tx

    Jimenez, your logic (and Romney's) is solid and right on the money–for pre-adolescents. They're impressionable, live in a black and white world, and imitate their role-models.

    However, with most teen-agers respect has to be earned, and today's teens are the savviest ever. Their worlds are complex and their opinions are strong; many are innately skeptical towards any adult, and the second you stop being up-front and honest and open and real—the second you treat them like they don’t deserve the whole truth—you lose all credibility.

    I wish I could say the same for more voters.

    I have a degree in psych and have worked with troubled youths. Obama’s approach was right on the money for his audience. And speaking as a voter, I also find his approach refreshingly honest and right on the money for myself as well. I wish more candidates were so honest.

    November 27, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Jimenez - Texas

    Monica – Rochester – it is people like you who are ignorant to think that everyone in this country has done drugs. Many have chosen not to. And, I do believe that Romney hasnt. Also the name is JIMENEZ not Jiminez

    November 27, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Charles

    I don't think it's too much to ask for a candidate that is both honest and drug-free, and I don't think it's overly "moralistic" to condemn the use of illegal narcotics.

    November 27, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Terry, El Paso, TX

    There is no rule book describing what is appropriate and what is not. We can't all agree on what should be said and what should not. I feel it is inappropriate to begin a meeting with a prayer, in deference to those who do not believe in the particular deity that is being prayed to. Others may have a different idea. I think it's appropriate to talk a lot about drug use and abuse, since it's a horrible problem in the nation. Half a million people die annually from tobacco and alcohol. College kids die from binge drinking. Not talking about it is not going to help anything.

    November 27, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Bob, Homestead, FL

    Right, because we all know that no one who has ever used drugs or had an alcohol problem has made it into the White House (let alone appoint as attorney general the guy who helped hide certain DUI charges in Texas)...

    November 27, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Bill , Charlotte , nc

    Has anyone else seen the videos of Bush doging the Cocain use questions, I saw one were a reporter asked him if it was true he used Coke and he simply called on another reporter without so much as word in response. Any one who lived in and around Washinton DC in the 80's knew the then presidents son was on the stuff, he didn't hide it as he partied with the known cokeheads of Washington, why was this never an issue in the campaign?

    bravo- Obama
    Honesty is the best policy

    November 27, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. pat huntington ny

    at least half the voters in 2000 and 2004 did else do you explain Bush winning those elections?

    November 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. kevin bender, frederick MD

    he justs needs to say " I did not inhale" like Bill Clinton, and things will be just fine !

    November 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Sadie Loksa, New Orleans, Louisiana

    Mitt Romney is a spoiled little trustfunder who feels entitled to political offices because of his last name and his daddy's record.

    Did I say Mitt? I meant George W.

    Do we really need another one of those in the White House?

    November 27, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. karen nj

    NO a good role model doesn't talk about using drugs and that "it's OK" to young children. Obama is NOT a good role model.

    November 27, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. jenifer,Derry,Newhempshire

    This guy desperation is kicking in. Cnn also want to dwell on Obama weaknesses. But I have a word for you CNN, we know who Obama is, please stay out!

    November 27, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Wayne, Greenville TX

    I'd rather vote for Romney than for the inhaler Obama.

    Posted By Jimenez – Texas : November 27, 2007 12:36 pm

    And then later on, find out that Romney snorted more coke than GW Bush did???? Or dropped more acid than Timothy Leery??

    November 27, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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