December 13th, 2007
01:05 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton apologizes to Obama for drug comment

Obama brushed off a Clinton advisers comments about his drug use Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton personally apologized Thursday to rival Barack Obama for an adviser's comment that Republicans will likely make an issue of Obama's past drug use, a Clinton aide tells CNN's Candy Crowley.

In an exclusive interview with Obama earlier Thursday, the Illinois Democrat brushed aside the comments.

"I just think people are feeling a little worried about the polls," Obama told CNN’s Ted Barrett before a Senate vote on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday Bill Shaheen, a chairman of the New York senator’s campaign in New Hampshire, told a Washington Post reporter the Republicans will likely exploit Obama's past admission of drug use should the Illinois senator win the party's nomination, and may even suggest Obama once dealt drugs.

Full story

- CNN's Ted Barrett, Candy Crowley, and Alexander Mooney

soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    Three articles already this morning about this non-story. If the Republicans aren't going to make hay with this issue, CNN surely is.

    Try reporting some news, guys.

    December 13, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Eddie, Chicago

    "Obama Rival?" Come on, CNN, just say it: Hillary Clinton

    December 13, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Kerry,burlington,ma

    They don't have to apologize. Kinda used to their negative politics by now....

    December 13, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Chris Myers

    I notice Obama does not state when the last time he used illegal drugs was?!?!?! Criminals should have to be honest if they want to be president.

    I guess the Democrats should admit they were wrong to attack Bush 7 years ago for supposed drug use.

    Can't the Democrats find a drug free candidate? Bill & Hillary and now Obama?

    Typical for what they represent.

    December 13, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Brian Little, Des Moinse IA

    Ha, does Shaheen expect us to believe that apology! This is just typical of slash and burn politics – send out a surrogate to do some character assasination and then ask him to "humbly apologize". Please!!

    December 13, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. Marie Richmond, VA

    I wonder why the news media reported this news unless someone with Republican leanings outside the campaign wanted it published.

    It wasn't news. It was PR and a carefully inserted slant that shouldn't have been pubbed as a news story. What it showed is that indeed, "politics is a dirty business."

    And that includes media.
    PS: I bet the guy who did, also did what he accused Obama on.

    December 13, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Gregg, Bismarck, ND

    I've never used drugs, and yet I could care less if Obama used them when he was young. Kids make mistakes. A mistake doesn't make someone a bad person, it simply means they made a bad choice.

    December 13, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Nick, Hanover, MN

    "...when I was a teenager there concerned about..."

    Should be "they're" not "there". Heads should roll for this one. Thanks for keeping this non-story alive for another day!

    December 13, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. therealist

    He's right. Hillary is feeling threatened by the poll numbers and the mud is going to have to starting flying early. She really wanted to save this kind of nastiness for Republicans. It's all right to personally destroy them because they're not black and she doesn't need their vote to become the President.

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

    They can apologize and play nice but drugs are not Obama's problem, skin color is his problem and America's problem.

    America is not going to elect a black man President of these United States and all but the most idealistic must know that. Liberals LOVE to talk about it and Republicans LOVE to talk about it too but when it gets down to pulling lever, punching the card, pushing the button they won't vote for a black candidate for THAT office and black people make up a small minority in this nation and are, quite frankly, notorious for not voting at all – whatever the reason.

    December 13, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Claire Murphy, Conshohocken PA

    "I don’t think the American people are concerned about what I did when I was a teenager there concerned about what I’m going to do as a presidential candidate," he said.

    How's about using correct grammar? "...there concerned..."

    Should be "...they're concerned..." contraction of "they are", not a reference to a place. The deterioration of language in common usage is bad enough without it showing up in journalism as well.

    December 13, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    I don’t care whether Obama did drugs, but I am confident that Hillary Clinton will win in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and all other states except Illinois and North Carolina and she does not have to and will not exploit Obama’s drug use. I hope that the American people are not buying into the Obama nonsense, altogether. Before Hillary put out her vision the other candidates had no clue of what American people NEEDED. The other candidates, with the exception of Biden and Kucinich, simple hanged on Hillary’s coattail until she rallied up the American people. Now the other candidates are trying to pull a fast one on the American people. Obama and Edwards have been eating from Hillary’s plate and now they want dessert and coffee. The American people must respond to these candidates by letting them know that these scrubs just can’t have their cake and eat it too.

    We already have a sound candidate, who can BEAT THE REPUBLICANS, with Hillary Clinton. We don’t need those other knuckleheads. They are distractions, especially Obama. All they do is complicate things, and they won’t get anything accomplished. I believe that Hillary is honest, and it is incomprehensible how some Americans believe that Obama is more honest than Hillary. Let us not forget who we are. We are American. We work with intelligence. We play hard, and we keep it simple. The Republicans understood this in 2000 which is why they won. If the Democrats want to continue to ponder on stupid pettiness, feed into the right wing demagoguery, go against the NEEDS of the American people and hate the very candidate that will make life better for ALL AMERICANS then we all will loose. Do we want to take our country back from the reactionaries, or do we want to please Queen Oprah? Do we want fiscal policies that work like Hillary’s, or some vague assessment of fiscal policy like Obama’s? Do we want to move forward, or do we want to procrastinate and deliberate.

    This is the greatest country in the world, and it will be greater with the Clintons back in the White House. Let’s just do it. Forget about Obama and Edwards and the rest of the Democrats. They don’t have any “clever chameleon”. Do they? There is no reason for not putting the Clintons back in the White house, when you ignore that emotional ying yang the reactionaries have festered and the Obama and Edwards campaigns have used for their benefit. Come on America. We don’t need Obama or Edwards. The Republicans are mad at Hillary because her policies will pass and will work and the right wing nonsense will go into the abyss where it belongs. WE ALL WILL WIN WITH HILLARY. Come on America, let's do it. We are not haters.

    December 13, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. BOSTON ,MA

    President Bush once admitted to having used marijuana at some point in his life. I wonder then why admission of having made the same mistake for Obama would be a big deal?

    December 13, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Bernie Quigley, Haverhill, New Hampshire

    This is a classic mnemonic slander devise to associate Obama with drug use. Much as when Huckabee asked in the abstract if Mormons don't believe that the Christ and the Devil are brothers to slander Mitt Romney. Next day you apologize, but the bond is made and Obama/drugs becomes a reflex hard-wired on the brain. The perpetrator of the slander is later rewarded by the inner circle. Shaheen should be fired outright. We in the northern mountains of New Hampshire are not as stupid as the Clintons would like us to be nor are we as easily manipulated as Shaheen's constituents in the industrial cities below on the edge of Massachusetts.

    December 13, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. Brett Hersom, IL

    Classic Clinton at its best. Bring up an issue and blame it on the Republicans. God help us if she wins.

    December 13, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  16. MidniteRyder Everytown USA

    Oh woe is me – when is the Hillary team going to learn to keep it's mouth shut? Who needs Cheney around, when they shoot themselves in the butt!

    Appears Obama didn't even need Rove, the GOP Mastermind & Operative to tell him how to beat Hillary. BUT still one has to wonder just why Rove is so generous to offer advice and hot to oust Senator Clinton from the fray?? Hmmm who do you suppose his next victim will be...

    December 13, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Teresa Delgado, Austin TX

    Senator Obama is correct everyone has done things in thier lives. Look at where he is today and what he has achieved. If anything it is more motivation for the younger voters it proves there is HOPE. Obama is our HOPE!

    December 13, 2007 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. Nice try, MD

    The Republicans scoffing at this is silly and hypocritical. Obama said he did this in his past, not unlike the current prez.

    December 13, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Laurin Cowling, Oak Park IL

    In your Obama quote... you mean "they're" concerned... not "there concerned".... where are your editors??? This is very sloppy journalism!

    December 13, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. Luke, LA, CA.

    I did not have sexual relations with that woman...!

    December 13, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Mark Winchester VA

    Apologize all you want but he is still a doper! Great role model for the columbians.

    December 13, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Kevin Casper, Topanga CA

    You misquoted him. It's "they're concerned ..." not "there concerned ..."

    December 13, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Another major stumble for Team Hillary.

    Bet that's a tense bunch of folk to be around right now.

    December 13, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Jessica M., El Paso, TX

    That's his answer for any criticism (Either that or attacking his critics on his fact-check website...we all know how Saint Obama does his "fact-checking", poor Paul Krugman comes to mind).

    Why does he never deal with the criticism head on? This answer is getting old and reeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyy annoying.

    December 13, 2007 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Nobody cares "sappy"! Even if you weren't a coke head in college–you're out of your league presuming to lead our nation, particularly at a time when unprecedented change is necessary. Your expertise is in cocktail parties and blending in. Not scrappling in the dirt, and fighting for your convictions, and keeping to your principles and promises. You're just a well heeled politician, and an Ivy League graduate–whose has made a career of doing all the right things–to achieve your own career goals. My 2 cents.

    December 13, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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