November 27th, 2007
02:05 PM ET
14 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. Dirk, Everett Wa

    "We don't tell our children everthing and for good reason. We are their role models."

    What? So telling your kids that it's ok to admit when you made a mistake is a bad thing? I am not a fan of ANY of the candidates, but I can respect having the strength of character it takes to stand before the entire nation (really the whole world) and admit such a mistake.

    How many people never smoked a cigarette while under age, never took a drink while under age, never experimented with other, harder drugs? Making mistakes is how we learn, provided we are willing to face our actions and admit them for what they are.

    November 27, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. lavelle Rochester,ny

    This dude is scary! lol He talks about wire tapping muslim mosques and killing and bombing anyone in our way! And now he's talking about lying to our kids? Im confused why not tell them let them know you've been there and understand and then tell them that its wrong! We were kids once right not robots

    November 27, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Stew Taylor, Vampton Ontario

    Too Honest? That is pathetic that anyone would consider that to be a flaw.

    November 27, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. Jake S, South Orange, NJ

    "45% would be less likely to vote for a candidate who used drugs." Most people know that a bunch of candidates have done drugs, Obama is the only one brave enough to admit that he that mistake.

    November 27, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Jim, Atlanta

    I read on all the message boards...."all we want is for our politicians to be honest with us"

    Obama is being honest with us.....are you going to crucify him for it? if so, don't ever expect a politician to be honest with you again.

    November 27, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Tony, Tulsa, OK

    I'm so tired of every argument being trumped by "it's for the children." We're practically a kinderocracy. Children don't vote for presidents and presidents aren't children. Given the ubiquity of marijuana I would be more skeptical of a candidate who had never tried it (after assuming first that he was lying).

    How about we stop trying to protect children from reality and tell them the truth for once. Santa Claus isn't real and marijuana isn't bad for you.

    November 27, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. mike fairfax va

    Drug use—whether an indiscretion or not, and whether anyone on this board cares to admit it or not— is part of our American fabric. If we expect candidates to lie about drug use before assuming the role of President, what could we expect to gain from their lies once they do assume that role? You may not want to hear about these issues, but it is the candidates perogative to choose to discuss them or leave it off the table. If you don't like the topic at hand, change the channel and vote for someone else.

    November 27, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Elli, St. Louis MO

    "We don't tell our children everything and for good reason. We are their role models."

    With everything that children see and hear on television and the internet, adults, especially parents, need to tell – more specifically EXPLAIN and SHARE experiences and LESSONS children. Where should children hear it from? Adults and parents they (hopefully) respect and look to for the truth? Or should they hear it from their friends? Television? The internet?

    How does it logically make sense to say that children shouldn't be told everything because adults are role models? By following this argument, the "role models", who would have not heard "everything" when they were younger, would not be the wisest people to listen to because adults didn't tell them everything. A person who claims to be a role model may be nothing more than a firm believer of "Do As I Say, Not As I Do."

    This is not the Stone Age. Children know much more than many people think or wish to believe. It's about time adults took their responsibility to children, especially to their own, with the utmost seriousness. If you believe children should only hear, see or learn things when they are "older", you are many, many years too late to help them become the most mature, responsible and productive members of society.

    November 27, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. Dave, Evergreen CO

    It’s sad that politics has gotten so bad that we even have to ask if it is OK for a politician to be honest. We should expect this kind of honesty from our leaders. To Jimenez in Texas; are you saying you would rather vote for someone who lies to you than someone who admitted to smoking pot 25 years ago (and by the way also admitted that it was a mistake)? Because that is basically Romney’s position; either he has never smoked pot or he’s is telling us it’s OK for him to lie about it if he did. I personally have had enough liars in the White House the last 30 years and find Obama’s candor refreshing. If you can so easily lie about smoking pot you can also easily lie about 'having sex with that woman' or 'weapons of mass destruction'. Lying is a slippery slope.

    Anyone who really thinks today’s high school kids are so naïve that they will “experiment” with illegal drugs because Barak Obama did when he was their age is either oblivious to the world around them or hasn’t been around a teenager since the 50’s.

    November 27, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Harry,Iowa

    Mitt, can you be honest on what happened in massachusetts when you were a governor there? Just out of curiousity. We are adults not kids, you don't have to worry about being honest here!

    November 27, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. Brett, Madison, WI

    I think the thing Jimenez and other who are upset about Obama talking about this is the fact that he didn't just start "bragging" about his past drug use, he responded to an audience member's question about his drug use. He is also in no way advocating that children go out and use drugs – he's telling them the exact opposite.

    We need more honest and open people like Barack running for office.

    November 27, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Henry,litttlerock,ARkasa

    Mitt can I you say getting endorsements from a brothel is wrong.....OOOh wait, that is non News!

    November 27, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Matt, Houston, TX

    Elli from St. Louis,

    Right on, dude! What a great, succinct and educated post. Too bad most of the people on this board won't have a clue as to what you're saying.

    Keep it up, though, it's nice to hear from educated/sensible people on these posts.

    November 27, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama's truthful admission about his "youthful indiscretions" sure knocked the boots off any candidate that planned to use it against him. Obama is letting everyone know he has nothing to hide and admits he is not proud of his indiscretions. Now all the candidates need to "ante" up because inquiring minds need to know and will find out.

    November 27, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    Mitt is Mr. Perfect. Perfect hair, perfect speech, perfect jacket, perfect children, perfect in every way.

    Talk about a mannequin. Mitt is the Mannequin man. What a flip floping joker.

    Let us all go around and lie to our chilidren because if we tell the truth our children will all become terrorists.

    What a bunch of backward thinking idiots.

    November 27, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Joe, Boston, MA

    Lance from Monrovia, CA....

    You're the man! I couldn't have said it any better! Awesome dude!

    That second paragraph you wrote should be in the Democratic TV ads throughout the general election! Send that to the Democratic National Committee.

    November 27, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. Nita - SA - TX

    Couldn't agree more! Borat Osama, Orlando, MI: November 27, 2007 2:00 pm:
    It is ridiculous to say that most of our youths use drugs.

    The bottom line is that Obama has lots of personal character flaws: drinking, goofing off and taking drugs in high school, lazy and stinky at home, chain smoker, and telling lies that his foreign relation experience was from years in indonesia when young.

    America does not need Obama as a leader. He has failed our youths as a role model.

    November 27, 2007 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Levi TC, Denton, TX.

    how about focusing on "youthful indescretions" we focus on THE FUTURE... are their stories of some drug experimentation really going to impact the way our next president handles foreign affairs or our next national budget?

    November 27, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    The Kennedy curse has effected the America people too. Greed and politics, the culture of corruption..

    Let the chips fall where they may. Bush made it into office twice...he admitted he used alcohol and coke. Clinton was in for two as well...and he smoked pot...but of course "didn't inhale". If they've got what it takes it won't matter. If they don't they're fair game. Freedom of speech and opinion (so far) is still free.

    November 27, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. L. Lee, Chico, CA

    Mitt, what have YOU go to hide???

    November 27, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. KD, cherry hill NJ

    you know what happend to america when you voted for a guy who boasted that a "C" average was good enough to be a president-GWB, and now you want to vote for a guy who says it is ok to do drugs and still can be a president- BHO...nice people nice bring down america. JFK must be rolling over his grave.

    November 27, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. DJ, Los Angeles, Calif

    I think the message is to be honest. Youths will see right through you if someone is trying to sugarcoat it.

    The message was is not cool and it gets you nowhere. Rather than duck and hide like Mitt and George W.

    Bush simply took the easy way out saying I refuse to talk about (cocaine?) use in the past. It implies that he probably did use illegal drugs.

    Obama sets an unprecented benchmark for public officials to show transparency in their opinions and what they believe. It is actually inspiring to hear how he turned his life around.

    November 27, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Nita - SA - TX

    Great Job! Osama, Orlando, MI :
    It is ridiculous to say that most of our youths use drugs.
    The bottom line is that Obama has lots of personal character flaws: drinking, goofing off and taking drugs in high school, lazy and stinky at home, chain smoker, and telling lies that his foreign relation experience was from years in indonesia when young.
    America does not need Obama as a leader. He has failed our youths as a role model.
    No one is upset that Obama chose to share this. We are just speaking our minds just like the rest of you are. This is America and we do have freedom of speech.

    November 27, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Wayne, Greenville TX

    "45% would be less likely to vote for a candidate who used drugs."

    Yet these are the people who hang on every word utterred by OxyContin addict Rush Limbaugh......

    November 27, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. Colie Brice

    Funny how CNN will keep this as front pages news day after day, but there's never any mention of Clinton's many scandals..

    November 27, 2007 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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