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. the new, Washington, D.C.

    Hey Claire, jokes on you. Last time I checked, people don't speak with "spelling". Clearly Obama meant "they're" and the editor of this piece mistakenly wrote "there."

    December 13, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Mark

    Monte Brown this is a democracy, not a coronation of Queen Hillary. I am deeply sorry that Hillary is a terrible candidate because she is so divisive, but the fact that she is such a repugnant candidate makes me glad that she's running such an amateur campaign.

    Seriously, this is the woman that's supposed to be able to fight the Republicans, and she can't even get her attacks straight on Obama. It's really pathetic, and just goes to show that she'd be a miserable president as well.

    Obama 08

    December 13, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Ed Bentley, San Diego, CA

    At the start of the campaign I would've said that Hillary had my vote unreservedly - now that's seeming less and less likely. I am sick to death of the "unauthorized" negative garbage that keeps leaking from her campaign staff. Either Hillary IS authorizing it and trying to keep her own hands clean - or her staff is completely out of her control. Neither is a good sign of someone that might be running this country (we've already had 7 years of that). A couple more instances of this and she's lost my vote.

    December 13, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Charlie, Chicago, IL

    Well said Monte. Really. That is the sort of clear, concise support that the Clinton campaign is hoping more of their supporters will go out and preach to the undecided voters. Keep it up!

    December 13, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. Emily, DC

    Though I don't think people should not vote for Obama because of his drug use (I think it gives teens who have made mistakes hope that if they reform, they can still have very successful lives), I do think its naive of him to say that Americans won't care about what he did as a teenager. Instead of just brushing it off, he is going to have to confront it headon. Americans care about every aspect of a president's life...their children, spouses, previous stances, drug history, and even their college grades. People became obsessed with Hillary Clinton's college thesis. That is part of running for president, whether Obama likes it or not. If he is the nominee and wants to beat the Republicans, he needs to be prepared for republicans to go after this, and for americans to probably care. Its amazing what can turn people off to a candidate these days.

    December 13, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  6. Annie A. Trempealeau WI

    PLEASE edit your work for homophones. In this article, in the last sentence, the wrong "THEY'RE" was used. CNN needs to recognize that the kids writing the news today just don't know the difference between there, their, and they're.

    December 13, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Georgette, Amarillo, TX

    At least Obama is honest! He smoked, he inhaled, he admitted it! I would be more likely to vote for someone who actually admitted to being human and making mistakes.

    December 13, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Dan, NJ

    The Hillary campaing was widely advertised as the best political machine ever. Nevertheless, she has two officials in Iowa sending out "Obama is a terrorist" mass emails intended to induce fear and her campaign chair in New Hampshire talking about Reps. attacking drug use intended to induce fear among Dem voters.

    So which is it Ms. Clinton: Is your campaign engaged of dirty politics attempting to SCARE voters into supporting you a la G.W. Bush, OR are you such a bad leader and manager of your staff that your people run rampant and make decision contrary to your will without consequence (perhaps a la G.W. Bush)?

    Either way, this is a bad sign for your campaign.

    December 13, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Jaik , chicago, IL

    Wow another non news story for CNN to again through mud at Obama and bring up some kind of youthful indiscretion. Anything to help Clinton.

    December 13, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. Sarah Buchanan, Morris, MN

    It is a sad, sad era when CNN, one of the leading news groups in America, uses poor grammar. I have found several mistakes in recent months. The latest error I noticed is your mix-up of "there" and "they're" in a quotation you attribute to Barak Obama.

    Get it right, CNN! People do notice!

    December 13, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. HRC

    Oh noooo.... Help me, help me!! I'm melting in the polls...

    December 13, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. jmaya, iowa

    why should he apologize, Obama Hessein has mentioned it in his memoir and republican will definitely exploit this issue.

    No way Obama can win general election.

    December 13, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Steve P., Minneapolis, MN

    "Apologize all you want but he is still a doper! Great role model for the columbians.
    Posted By Mark Winchester VA"

    I will remind you, Mr. Winchester, that our current president has a very public history of cocaine and alcohol abuse. Pots and Kettles, sir. And Columbia should be capitalized.

    December 13, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  14. a.thomas, ny, ny

    The national polls show Obama is losing big to Hillary. Obama can only dream that he has Hillary's polls.

    Hillary is still enjoying high national polls. After the CNN's poll showing her lead of Obama by only 10 points, another poll (ABC/Washongton Post) of the same day shows Hillary ahead by 30 points (53 v 23), and the most recent ARG poll shows Hillary ahead by 19 points (41 v 22).

    December 13, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. slinkmalinky

    Hillary is not concerned with sterotyping Obama as the "typical drug using black man" What!? Are we going to vote for a Republican??

    December 13, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. Jen, Gainesville, FL

    To Claire,

    I think the grammar mistake is the reporter's not Obama's. Obama spoke and the report wrote it down. We all know that "they're" and "there are" pronounce the same, but should be written differently. To report news on the fly, I guess that reporters do not have much time to check their grammar.

    December 13, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. H. Arnold; Chicago, Illinois

    Who cares about what was done when Obama was a teenager. The Clinton camp is desperate and needs to talk about real issues that are happening right now....i.e. foreclosures/jobs/Iraq War/etc. etc.
    I want to know why Senator Clinton voted on the Iraq War and since she indicated a mistake, how is she going to correct this now and if she becomes president. That's what I want to know. I also want to know what are her plans to rejuvinate a failing economy/ the amount of foreclosures/ the problems with the school systems (drop-out rate)... The Clinton camp needs to talk about the ISSUES.

    December 13, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  18. The Truth, Elsewhere, USA

    Hilary Clinton is the most down right mean and nasty person I know. I mean, it takes that kind of a person to stay with someone who got "you know what" under the table in the oval office. Her camp is a reflection of her and they are worried. I mean you should see the stains. Even her Husband, the great Bill Clinton has gone out to "help" is wife by using his reputation and past accomplishments. He has said he is unhappy with her camp and need to make changes. Well, Obama has a camp too, and I am sure his camp officials are doing a good job at handling their own campaign with out the help of any one else in the political realm. See, Obama doesn't need help from someone with his own campaign. HRC is still unbelievable and in my opinion is not presidential material. Hilary Clinton for president? Ha. Hilary Clinton for Pimp is more like it. Because if she gets elected, she will be pimping the entire world. And lets face it, we want a president to stand on their own two feet and not have to have a personal trainer like Bill holding their hand the entire way.

    Obama 08'

    December 13, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |

    why should his past be a concern espically when it was when he was a teenager and now u have coked up senators and politicans holding office but the their above the law so they cant be touched.Peolpe will try to smire him just so he wont be the first black president.But he takes a licking and keep on ticking.....................GO BARAMA

    December 13, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Mike, Houston, TX

    Here's a prediction. Obama wins Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Next big votes in February result in split of the party between Obama and Clinton. Al Gore steps in to rescue the democrats.

    Democrat ticket in '08: Gore / Biden

    December 13, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Bossk, Naperville, IL

    Hey, I give credit to Obama for at least being able to own up to his mistakes. He made a mistake, admitted that he made that mistake, and moved on from it, which is exactly what other people should do as well!

    December 13, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. Tere, FL

    Looks like the Clinon lawyers, who defend anything Hillary says: Monte Brown and a. thomas are back. I was wondering where they have been hiding with all the slipping in the polls of Hillary. I also wonder where they will be hiding when Hillary loses Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and yes, Nevada, we just added three new offices there, i have to say the Obama campaign has geniuses and have this thing figured out!

    December 13, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. Les WA

    Says who Obama? We have a huge drug problem here in the US alone, we have soldiers dying in Afghanistan fighting the Talibans sending drugs in this country, we're spending hundreds of millions of dollars fighting drug cartels entering our border with Mexico and our waterways. You must be kidding!

    YES! Obama your use of cocaine in the past is a BIG problem for registered voters like me. Your use of cocaine alone in the past is one BIG REASON for me and others who have young children to vote for you.

    What made it worse, you use the white people of this country as an excuse for your use of drugs, you wrote it in your book. If Every American registered voters go to their public library your book, they'd all turn their backs away from you, you're racist; you blame them for your own inadequacy as if they've pointed a loaded gun on your head. You've made your own choices, take responsibility for it and be held accountable instead of passing the buck like you always do.

    You're not fit to President, you are dangerous, you're more divisive than our current President. One thing for sure I will not for you, I don't want the person who'll represent me to the world a former COKEHEAD!

    December 13, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. Danny Casolaro Martinsburg, WV

    What a sad bunch of fools.
    First of all, if you think Hillary Clinton has not already been chosen to be president, you have another thing coming. We do not have elections in America anymore. They are just for show.
    There is nothing on earth short of a violent revolution that will stop Hillary Clinton from being the president. Nothing. it is a rigged game, a fixed outcome.

    Secondly-to any idiot that would indict hapless Obama (who still thinks he has a chance)about his drug use, might I remind him that George Bush Sr., William Casey, and Oliver North directed the Iran Contra operation, which saw the CIA flood American cities with huge amounts of cocaine in an effort to raise money for the Contras.
    In plain English-that makes George Herbert Walker Bush a DRUG DEALER.
    And his son's cocaine use was not rumor, it was FACT.
    Hey, it was the 80's-everyone was doing it-and who cares if a few African American communities got completely destroyed by crack? That was a small price to pay (actually, in Bush's eyes, a benefit) to keep South America free from communism.
    By the way, who was it that oversaw the drug drops for Iran Contra when they made their way into the US via airplane?
    You guessed it-Bill Clinton!
    And the drug sales profits were laundered through many Arkansas business and government funds.
    Ever hear of Mena, Arkansas?
    Bush/Clinton/CIA family drug business-a cozy little operation.

    December 13, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Bill O'Neill, Palatine, IL

    If the Clintons want somebody "electible", look no further than Laura Bush. She has 16 years experience, no issue with drugs, and she'd be a lot more electible than Hillary. Billster

    December 13, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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