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. xtina chicago il

    The political ticker blog is filled with the drama of the campaign – the candidates personal issues and their personal lives. Isn't this secondary to the resumes of these candidates? When are people going to debate the qualifications and experience of the candidates?

    December 13, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Pamela, Chicago, IL

    Don't hate on Shaheen – you KNOW the Republicans are going to bring up SOMETHING, ANYTHING to defeat the Democratic candidate. Then again, the Republicans have skeletons, too.

    December 13, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. NY Johnny

    I'm still waiting for "Senator" Clinton's husband to come clean about his drug use; at least Obama's honest about it

    December 13, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Maxwell, Chicago

    Frankly I'd be concerned if a candidate had never taken soft drugs/alcohol. What better way to relate to a majority of the voters. It shows humanity. Why is weed such a big issue still?

    December 13, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. jaelyn peoria az

    Hey cmon...........I'ts Politics 101..... If you can't honestly talk about the issues...........smear your opponent.

    December 13, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Larry in New York said: "He IS however a great role model for many Americans…a guy who came from a single home, who admittedly wasted his teenage years on drugs and booze, and OVERCAME all that, worked HARD, and has achieved.

    It's the American story."

    Hey Larry–if Obama is such a "regular" guy from the streets–where the heck did he get the money for a Harvard Education. He may be "your" American story–but he's not the American story for most Americans–who can barely cover the "non-covered" expenses of their childrens "public"education and mortgage.

    December 13, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Mark C, Asheville NC

    *** 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. ***

    So apparently this does not apply to the current president, who has consistently refused to answer questions about his own drug use (which apparently extended WELL past the age that Obama is talking about) and kept his DUI under wraps as well.

    But then Republicans are ever the hypocrits.

    December 13, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  8. Doug Sebring, FL

    Can the Dems find a drug-free candidate
    you ask Chris? If he promises not to make up intelligence to justify going to war, or ignore a natural disaster, or fire judges who don't agree with him...then he can fire one up in the oval office for all I care.

    December 13, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Typical Clinton politics, show no guts by saying the words yourself but have a surrogate do it, see how it plays, if it polls as bad, say that the high ranking member of your campaign doesn't speak for you and lastly blame he Republicans somehow.

    Damage is done, no blood on your hands and the message gets across, end of story.

    He/She is scared and they are playing the dirty politics all over again.

    Obama has more honesty and integrity in his pinkie than He/She has in their whole body.

    December 13, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. katie, ny, ny

    Hey Les,

    It wasnt coke it was marijuana. I know things like that are hard for you toothless people in west virginia to differentiate between since you are all cracked out on meth. everything else is the same for you guys. Furthermore, we already have a cokehead president, so the issue is a moot point. past drug use really shouldnt be an issue at all ESPECIALLY marijuana. As for Bush, not only does he have cocaine use under his belt but a DUI as well.

    What matters is their stand on drugs now, and given the fact that the drug wars only exacerbated the problem, i would like to see someone come up with a new plan, regardless of what they did when they were young. The fact is, this country, for caring about something like this, is a bunch of puritanical hypocrites. No better a place for it then America.

    December 13, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Vic Las Vegas, Nevada

    Barak Hussein Obama has about as much chance of becoming the leader of the free world as I have of flying to the moon in lead boots!

    If you folks want to get these fascist Republicans out of office you better smarten up and pick a candidate that can win.

    The neo cons are so afraid of Hillary Clinton that they started this muck racking, mud slinging campaign more years ago than one cares to consider.

    Don't think for a minute they won't swift boat Barak Hussein Obama on the issue of his drug use and anything else they can dig up. And dig they will. They are masters at that game!

    It is fact that Hillary Clinton can win against the Republican machine.

    It is fantacy to think that Barak Hussein Obama can win this election.

    If you want another fascist Republican administration, vote for Obama and surely we'll get another 4-8 years of Republican domination in the White House.



    December 13, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. Angela, Salt Lake City, UT

    I have been a supporter of Obama for a few months now, and knowing that when he was a teenager he used drugs does not change how I feel about him negatively. If anything knowing that Obama has made mistakes shows that he's human and not THAT different from you and I. It comforts me to know that the person I would trust to run my country is human, and can admit when he's made a mistake.

    December 13, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Patrick, South Carolina

    Every time I see Obama he looks, acts, and sounds presidential. Hillary does not. I am a Republican switching to Democrat to vote for a Democrat in South Carolina. Watch out because people like me are going to make conservative heads spin and Obama may be our next president.

    December 13, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Concerned Citizen, Pittsburgh PA

    Monte Brown, NY (and all of those who agree), YOU are the knucklehead(s) regarding this issue. The country does not need someone who can "BEAT THE REPUBLICANS," rather someone who can unite the country.

    Further, it is terribly dangerous to wish for the Clintons (emphasis on plural) back into the White House. Last time I checked, Bill can't run for president. You shouldn't base your vote on wanting to get Bill back in the White House.

    And as far as any reason not to elect HRC outside distrust, disagreeing with her politics, seeing her as the most devisive of candidates, or any other political or moral reason, I am reminded of a comment I read on a CNN Blog a few days ago. If HRC wins the General Election, we will become a monarchy. Since going back to 1980, we would either have a Bush or a Clinton as either VP or Pres. That would make a minimum of 32 years of control by two families (36 if Hillary would win a second term).

    December 13, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Mike Smyth, New Orleans, Louisiana

    It seems like past drug use shouldn't even be a factor after eight years of President Bush. Obama already has a better resume than W; the first forty years aren't a gaping hole full of smoke, booze and coke.

    December 13, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |

    Chris Myers

    criminal because he smoked marijuana before??? i supposed youve never done it? its amzing because ciggarettes kill alot more people then marijuana and alcohol has killed more people then ciggarettes, but you would consider someone a criminal for smoking pot? id rather have a rational president then a politically correct president any day. AAAAND we werent wrong about bush. we were right! 100% right and if anybody cant admit that today then they just dont WANT to admit they were wrong. but it has nothing to do with you it has to do with a horrible president that has almost crippled this country with corruption and disregard for the constitutional process and democracy itself!!!!im not going to compare bush and obama because they both did drugs, like that evens it out!!! obama is a man that is fit to lead, bush is a man that is fit to fail!!!!! and he did!!!!

    December 13, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Ryan, New Jersey

    No one gets through forty, or even thirty or twenty, years of life without making some big mistakes. Whether it be drugs, alcohol, women, or just plain inability to make anything of themselves, none of us are perfect. What's important is that we learn from these mistakes and pass the wisdom we glean from then on to others in the HOPE that they might avoid making similar ones. Obama has done that, and that's just one of many reasons he gets my vote.

    December 13, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  18. Cindy

    At least our guys, for the most part, do their dirt before they get elected.

    Posted By Kevin, Norfolk

    Hey Kevin,

    Did you forget the head honcho Billy ??? He took the CAKE ...

    December 13, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Dan, NJ


    Get your facts straight. You obviously did not read Obama's book. In the book he made a passing reference to cocaine. To paraphrase, the book says that he had a period where he smoked marijuana with his friends and they would "do a little coke when we could afford it".

    In any event, which is more relevant in a run for President:

    1. A candidate admitting to recreational drug use as teenager and characterizing it as a mistake, OR

    2. A candidate voting in favor of a war in Iraq and the refusing to admit it was a mistake?

    If you want a President who will be a good role model for children, vote for the one who upholds the virtue of accountability.

    December 13, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. RD

    To. Monte Brown
    I see you are a Hillary supporter as a registered democrat Republicans hope Hillary wins the nominee She is a sure loss to the democrats. We may or may not like her Ideas but she can not win the White house. Some hard nose democrat's will vote republican before they vote for Hillary. When she decided to run for senate she moved to NY from Arkansas why? Because she would not have got elected in her home state. She has not even been able define her stand on important issues. She has changed her mind so much on the War in Iraq no one knows her intentions. Only good idea she has stood on is health care the the US goverment cannot afford without raising taxes so we will still have to pay for it. Republicans won't even have to fight to win against Hillary their are too many Democrat's against her, and if you thinks she is honest step out of the clouds and check her record their is more controversy on Bill and Hillary than any other polical figure in the US. Better do a reality check she does not stand a chance.

    December 13, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Daniel

    Obama is a loser, who is going to mess things up for the Dems. Republicans know this and would love to run against him. HE WILL LOSE.

    My vote is for Hillary!

    December 13, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    RD, I don't consider you a fellow Democrat if you truly have a problem with Barack's middle name. Quit being a Xenophobe!

    Obama '08

    December 13, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Mark

    "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.

    Hillary was a lady, Obama a jerk. He could say something nicer than this arrogant comment.. the polls mean nothing yet Mr. Obama! Stadium acclamations do not always translate in votes.

    December 13, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Mike, Houston, TX

    Hillary is done. She's the victim of that vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.

    December 13, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. trent porter, tx

    will Hillary Clinton also apologize for being a liar? she has engaged in very serious fraud and most people don't know it.


    December 13, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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