December 12th, 2007
05:48 PM ET
12 years ago

Bush opens up on past alcohol problem

Bush made some candid comments about his past alcohol problems.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Offering rare public comments on his past problems with alcohol, President Bush told an interviewer Tuesday that he had never been a "knee-walking drunk," but that "I doubt I'd be standing here if I hadn't quit drinking whiskey, and beer, and wine and all that."

Bush has previously said he often drank too much as a young man, and that he quit drinking in 1986 after overindulging on his 40th birthday.

Shortly before the 2000 presidential election, news surfaced he was arrested in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol near his parents' home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

“Alcohol can compete with your affections. It sure did in my case - affections with your family, or affections for exercise,” Bush told the ABC News interviewer Tuesday.

"It was the competition that I decided just wasn't worth it.”

The president also maintained he has not had a drink of alcohol in 21 years since he quit, and said he's a "better man for it."

Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. Sam, IA

    To Farrell in Houston. Check your facts, Bush has repeatedly stated he quit drinking because it was a problem but at no point and under no circumstances has Bush EVER said he was an alchoholic. The biggest lie.

    December 13, 2007 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  2. mark wilkes barre pa

    cocerned voter Albuqurque NM or tom for short,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, seeing how stupid you think i and many of my republican fellow americans are.. I would encourage you to google "wilkes talk radio " in Pa then go to steve corbett's corner. This man happens to be a democrat of libral leanings. Let this man show you what happens when the democrat's controll a region for over 50 years un opposed. My county "luzerne" is currently being investigated by the secret service. It is open and common Knowledge Yet the local tv news will not cover or touch it , the papers hardly print anything. 7 county leaders have issued themselves debt cards a few years ago, without the publics approval funded by county tax dollars. Not one single receipt in years has ever been collected. the story broke weeks ago and we are now finding out day by day what these leaders did with some of the over $40,000 in missing funds. Strip clubs in Nevada, trips to the finger lakes in NY, spas in manhatten,Trips to the grocery store ,dinners at fine resturants exceeding $800.00 dollars,,,,,,,And all the while our region of the state is surrounded by the same deep routed dem progressive politics that do not want there new ways of operation exposed to the public. so our plight as tax paying voters and home owners goes un heard and forces us to vote straight republican instead of voting for who's best in order to send a message to these would be criminals if only gov Rendell would get off his butt and come up here and see for himself whats really going on in his state. Hope this was helpful my bush hating friend

    December 13, 2007 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  3. AN, Fairfax, VA

    Ejima Tonna:

    WHAT are you talking about? You aren't a PC, SP, ACLUite, Dr Spock following, loon are you? Talk about dangerous!

    December 13, 2007 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  4. sheila j. lake city fl

    What do you mean when you use the cliche,"We support the troops"? IN what way if not by funding them? And for TINA, you need to read up on medical diagnoses, alcoholism is a disease, not just an addiction.

    December 13, 2007 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  5. S. Patel, Houston, TX

    This is the only thing Mr. Bush has done in his life that I can sincerely commend him for. Actually, his admission of past alcohol abuse is one of the few insights into his humanness. Unfortunately, his sobriety has led to deaths of innocent people across the world.

    December 13, 2007 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  6. Joe, Pittsfield ME

    First of all, it has been known for a long time that he is a recovering alcoholic and turned to religion so those reading this post must be pretty young or never paid attention.

    B: Aren't there some alcoholics where you can only tell if they are sober?

    December 13, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  7. John Karsten, Virginia Beach, VA

    There is a great quote from Frank Santra who once said "I feel sorry for people who do not drink because it is the best they will feel all day!" Live life to the fullest I say, just like Bush did, a few drinks, a few rails of's ok...I am the President....I am the decider and I decide to get wasted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 13, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  8. Ralph,Nash,T.N.

    And yet he is still leading, under the influence of STUPID .and yet the dems do nothing???

    December 13, 2007 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  9. LL Houston, TX

    Go back to drinking George.... maybe you be better at your job drunk.... could not be any worse that's for sure.

    December 13, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  10. Risse Baton Rouge La

    So why is it that he George Bush as president can be president with a DUI on his record. Why are all convicted felons not given a chance to prove themselves otherwise. And they don't get to vote. This place is truly messed up

    December 13, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Jay, Nashville

    In Tennessee, many people associated with the highway patrol have said that Al Gore was given a DUI while in his 20s, late at night. Early the next morning the officer who pulled him over was given a new car so that he would expunge the event from records. Al Gore Sr. didn't want the bad publicity.

    December 13, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. J.Crobuzon

    You mean these whack decisions he's made are supposed to be the work of a sober mind? Worst President Ever.

    December 13, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. roflmao USA

    In Tennessee, many people associated with the highway patrol have said that Al Gore was given a DUI while in his 20s

    "many people?" Now there's a reliable source. Care to provide a link to back this up (other than Free Republic?)

    December 13, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Ladies and Gentlemen, please, this is OLD news. He first told of his past alcohol abuse in a book he wrote many years ago. There is no doubt our President is a recovering, sober alcoholic and for those who have been there, it is good to share your past experiences with others to remind yourself of the horror of where you have been. Mohammad, he was not convicted of DUI in Kennebunkport. He was arrested for it which almost anyone who has had more than one sip in Maine can be arrested for too. In order for it to rank as hight as a felony in Maine the driver must be classified as a habitual offender and then I believe there are other stipulations too which bring it to a felony charge. Otherwise, I am sure its no worse than you parking in that handicap space you probably parked in over the past year or two.

    December 13, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Anonymous, Bowie Maryland

    I am still reading here where most think this is earth-shattering news. He disclosed his alcohol abuse in his book "A Charge To Keep" which was published in 1999. Last time I check, that was before the elections.
    George W. Bush, A Charge to Keep, (1999) ISBN 0-688-17441-8

    December 13, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. Biden Backer/Seattle

    Did village idiot discuss being a complete cokehead as well??

    December 13, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |


    Obama is allegedly related DISTANTLY to CHENEY-NOT BUSH. Lord help American members of society who make snide comments & DON'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT!

    December 13, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Ba Gua Zhang, Chico, CA

    McCarthy, Nixon, Bush Jr.–seems alcohol and Republicans mix well.

    December 13, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. From The North

    Appreciate his Honesty? Give him Respect? Excuse Me?

    Bush should have respected Americans by being HONEST during his first run for office. That was the time and place for the truth about his alcohol abuse.

    And if I recall, his statement then was something like, he didn't have a problem with alcohol!

    This man doesn't have a shred of honesty or truth in his whole being.
    Of course, that is no surprise, he has proven that already time and time again!

    And sadly his statement confirms what many have surmized during his reign, his problems are more severe and go much deeper than a mere addiction!

    December 15, 2007 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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