Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama's cocaine, pot use: Does it matter in White House bid?

| 85 Comments

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), poised to announce a White House bid, got a taste of the intense vetting that will take place in a presidential campaign.

The Wednesday edition of the Washington Post ran a page one story about Obama's drug use--pot and cocaine. He wrote about it in his memoir, "Dreams of My Father," published after he finished law school. Drug use was not an issue in his 2004 Senate race, either in the primary or general election.

Obama, on a recent visit to "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" was asked by Leno about taking drugs.
"Remember, Senator, you are under oath. Did you inhale?"
Replied Obama, "That was the point."

Running for president, though, puts Obama under a microscope.



Maybe wisecrack about drugs should come with a Say No warning, to dilute the joke.

Based on the page one placement by the Post, which will influence the political cable shows, web chatter and derivative columnists, Obama won't be able to get away with dismissing questions about drugs as an "old story," a common damage control tactic.


to read the Post story, click below

hhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/02/AR2007010201359.html

This is an excerpt of Lois Romano's story....
"It was not so long ago that such blunt admissions would have led to a candidate's undoing, and there is uneasiness in Democratic circles that "Dreams From My Father" will provide a blueprint for negative attacks.

Two decades ago, Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was forced to withdraw as a nominee for the Supreme Court after reports surfaced that he had used marijuana while he was a law professor. As a presidential candidate, Bill Clinton thought marijuana use could be enough of a liability in 1992 that he felt compelled to say he had not inhaled. And President Bush has managed to deflect endless gossip about his past by acknowledging that he had an "irresponsible" youth but offering no details.

Through his book, Obama has become the first potential presidential contender to admit trying cocaine."

85 Comments

You know it's easy for us to sit back and judge others, I must admit that I'm quite guilty of this myself. But through life's lessons and also most recently I have learned that this is not what "GOD" has put us here for. But to look past our brothers past faults as he sent his son to forget and forgive us of ours. So my comment to any statement made in this capacity is and always will be is that to acknowledge what we have done publicly in our private lives before being questioned is Godly. What does it matter what this man did in the past, that's just it the past. We've all done things in our past or our school days [and some are still doing to this day] so let it rest. The Good Book says let those without sin cast the first stone and the room was cleared.

So what?

In response to Senator Obama admitting his past drug use, I say "SO WHAT". Who as a teenager has thought "I am going into politics, I wonder if this will come back to me".

You have and always will have my vote (and that of my 80 year old grandmother who is a staunch Republican)

In response to Senator Obama admitting his past drug use, I say "SO WHAT". Who as a teenager has thought "I am going into politics, I wonder if this will come back to me".

You have and always will have my vote (and that of my 80 year old grandmother who is a staunch Republican)

It does'nt matter if your a democrat the standards are lower...the press will see to that. Take a look at Polosi's
appointments as well as Jefferson who was reelected.

Wow - who would have ever thought that candid honesty with regard to someone's past actions would be perceived as such a liability?

I, for one, could care less what the man did in his past or does in his spare time - he obviously has more character than our current administration and the lot of loathsome misanthropes that Mr. Bush has assembled.

So the guy's a little less ignorant about the world than his opponent. If he were a frequent or current user it might be a negative but to be able to relate to an experience that so many have had is, frankly, a plus.

It's not what goes into a man that defines him, but what comes out. The fact that he came out with it shows he's a man of character. It's a quick reminder for us all that no one is perfect and needs to be, to be accepted. I think we're onto something good in Obama. Let's nurture it instead of killing it.

Using cocaine eliminates people from ever becoming a DEA or FBI Agent, so how could he become our President?

Regardless of Obama's candicy, isn't it a sad reflection on our society that ILLEGAL drugs are so rampant in our society that virtually every one has tried them?

These drugs are 100% illegal. We spend billions of dollars a year to keep them out of our society and punish those who use them.
Young people die every day in the act of buying and selling these drugs.

Yet the common answer to this issue is So What!

Do we honestly want someone honest in the white house. I mean, come on I want to be lied to time and time again.

Hmmm... an honest man in politics?

Quick! Look outside and see if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are riding past!

P.S. only an idiot would have believed that Clinton didn't inhale.

Given Obama's other qualifications or lack thereof (if you happen to be an Obama-hater) and the fact we're talking about past tense...who cares?

However, you've got qualifiers to consider. Was this past usage _____?

A. drug experimenting

B. drug use

or C. drug abuse

I suppose with any or all three, it ultimately doesn't matter as long as it's not still going on. We can't have our President giving away government secrets for a twenty bag.

This actually leads me to another point. U.S. voters did just elect a well documented alcoholic and cokehead to the Presidency. Twice.

So, does Obama's admitted cocaine and pot experimentation/usage/abuse matter? Doesn't look like it.

You dems are funny. Of course you don't care, as long as you like the candidate. Let's not forget how much of an issue you made of Bush's college drinking etc... You sure didn't say "So what" then!!! Just a little hypocritical aren't we?!

We've got a president in the white house who drank, did drugs, knocked up a girl, and went AWO while dodging Viet Nam. So what's the big deal. At least he ownes up to it. Unlike a certain "lame-duck" president.

The Republican machine will chew up Hussein Obama and spit him out. If he has any brains he will count himself lucky to be a Senator and not run for President. On a different topic, I would just like to extend my condolences to democrats upon the death this past weekend of Sadaam Hussein. I realize what an icon Sadaam was in the deomcratic party and I would like to just offer my deepest sympathies and to encourage you to let your faith, and each other, help you to get through these trying times.

Give me a break! I'll take Barack and his past transgressions over what we've had to endure the last 6 years any day of the week.

I like Barach Obama, I like what he stands for, he's for the average person. Every president in history had something in their closet. He's fine in my book. I'd vote for him.

Mr.Obama admitted to past drug use which makes him honest and human; Our current president is neither. This is a case of a politician not hiding from his past behind cover-ups and lies. America is not used to honesty coming from politicians so this is a bit of a shock to our system.

Discussion of Obama's drug use, after Obama has openly disclosed it, can only be racism. America is showing its true, hateful colors once again. Unfortunately, I am not surprised; this, from a country who will not open its border to our Hispanic neighbors. This, from a country whose citizens would rather hoard their money to buy another DVD rather than help others by fully funding and then expanding social programs. With Obama, we have a human who will lead us out of the darkness, a man who is willing to sacrifice himself for us; but true to America, our inherent racism gets in the way of potential salvation.

I think we should all do a line....sheeeeeet!!!!

Of course it matters! What kind of row model would former drug user project to our youth who have enough problems already.

Maybe they should start weeding out all the people in government who abuse alcohol on a regular basis. And what about those who break other laws, such as driving their cars too fast (whether under the influence of not)? What makes drug use (abuse) worse than any other evil that a politician can commit? What action should be taken against a certain politician who sent 3,000 young men to die needlessly?

It's unfortunate, but when you get to the nitty gritty of a presidential election, the claws will come out - especially desperate Republicans. They WILL point to any blemish in Sen. Obama's past and milk it for what it's worth - and, unfortunately, many will listen. I hope I am wrong, but if past elections are any indication, than I think I am right on target.

I only wish that the conduct and thinking of George Bush could be explained by drug usage.

Just opened the door for Ms Clinton

Where do we draw the line in the sand? Just a little coke and pot to get me started, just a little alcohol to help me relax. Is that the person you want with his hand on the trigger of the mass nuclear weapons arsenal we have?I think NOT!!
how can anyon say he has charachter? Yes, by all means look at Bush objectivly---
WHAT DO YOU SEE AND HEAR???

He who has not sinned cast the first stone.

Let's be real here, the media are sharks looking for blood and they found a half-drop of blood and are prowling for a kill.

Most politicians are guilty of drug use whether it was in their past or happening now. Obviously they won't admit to this.

As long as Obama can guarantee that he has stopped and left the drug use in the past, let us stick to the real issues.

I commend Senator Obama on his honesty. We've had government officials lead double lives or continue inappropriate, at times illegal, relationships while holding office. Let the voters determine who is best suited to be our next president.

BabZ,
Wow! Just Wow!?!? Do you really feel that democrats look up to Sadaam Hussein??? Are you truly that ignorant??? I am an independent, I vote for who I believe is the best candidate based on all the issues. While economically, I tend to be a little on the conservative side, I tend to be liberal on a lot of issues. After all, the word liberal is from the latin word liber which means free, which last time I checked is what this country is about. This society has truly done something wrong in educating us. For there to be people as closed minded as you are in this country, I can see that we have just regressed. To stress the fact that our senator's middle name is Arabic in as racist a manner as you did disgusts me. I hope that you take some time in this upcoming election, along with everyone else, to truly get to know the candidates' stances on issues, and not what they may have done in the past. Everyone has done something in their life that they look back on as a mistake. Good for Obama to be honest about it! Mistakes are what we learn from, and we all need to make them time to time. Babz, please take the time to open your mind to the idea that there are other cultures out there, and just because people are different doesn't mean they're bad.

Zzzzzzz...

Something tells me we sadly re-elected a president recently whose track record in excess blows (no pun intended) Obama's away. Just think how this country will fare if we, oh, I don't know, ELECT SOMEONE COMPETENT WHO USED TO DO RECREATIONAL DRUGS???

It absolutely does not matter! It clearly didn't matter to the American public when George W. was elected (twice), right?!

Furthermore, at least this man is showing us his willingness to be honest - a word non-existent in today's political landscape.

Use of illegal drugs is a bar to having a top secret or even secret clearance for anyone in the military or civil service. So, why should a Senator or Presidential candidate get a pass? Obama knew then that using drugs was illegal and, according to reports, he already planned on a political career. So, I don't think he can honestly get away with blaming being his youthfulness to get away with this.

Politically, it only matters if you are a Democrat. Only the blind faithful in the Republican Party refuse to admit that President Bush was almost certainly a more than casual user of the same drugs (at least) Obama dabbled in. Since President Bush has done a variation on the "I never inhaled" response to the drug question, the Republican Party can still use Obama's admission as demonstrating that he does not share the values of mainstream America. Cynicism is alive and well in 2007.

So--- ? He used good judgement and did not continue. But--I hope he stays where he is due to the age of his children.

No racism here. He is white and black--when does he get credit for being white? Remember when he used to be Barry?

Hey everyone...I saw someone asking for Obama's stance on issues so I thought I'd post this link to his official senate site. You will find info there.
http://obama.senate.gov/

Also, some of you have been talking about potential relapse. Well, coming from someone in the medical field, you should know that there first has to be an addiction for someone to relapse. Obama only experimented and was not an abuser. Read the book, it's very good.

Trying drugs as a teenager isn't Obama's biggest worry. Its the future backstabing, character-bashing, political-bashing, that he will receive from Hillary Clinton's campaign advisors and workers (McAuliff's, Carville's, Begala's, etc.) that he needs to worry about.

My question is (Was he a drug user? meaning how long how much? or Did he just experiment, in what year, for how long?
The story is being made into a gigantic picture of long use, as if he just stopped when he entered politic. We need a reliable reporter to report the truth behind the statement.

"After all, the word liberal is from the latin word liber which means free, which last time I checked is what this country is about."

I thought I'd chime in on this one before I give my opinion about this issue. Yes, that is where the word comes from. However, I find it ironic that it is liberals who are strongly in favor of social programs, which are hardly indicative of a "free" society. What freedom do I have to not support lazy, ignorant, irresponsible people? What freedom do I have to not support people (women) who have not figured out how to use any of the dozen or so forms of birth control available to them? What freedom do I have to not support people who are too lazy to get an education so that they can get a job that will enable them to be able to afford health insurance? My freedom and rights have been curbed for the sake of the ignorant, irresponsible, and lazy people of the world. Liberals are the strongest supporters of programs that enable these people to take money out of my paycheck every month. Do not confuse the origins of the word with the kind of people who support the liberal party in this country.

Now, with regards to the cocaine issue, I see it as par for the course in this country. I am against electing officials who have admitted to felonious behavior. I choose to live a responsible lifestyle and want the person who represents me to be reflective of my beliefs. At the same time, however, I believe that people can change their lives and lead good decent lives, regardless of what they have done in the past. If Senator Obama has admitted to his crime and has worked to reconcile himself with the community he should be given a second chance.

Personally, I will wait to make a decision on who I vote for next year until I have enough facts about who is running. If the Democrats nominate Senator Obama for president, I would probably vote for him. I believe that he has a good chance of being elected if nominated. If, however, the Dems nominate Senator Clinton as their choice, I will vote for any candidate other than her. I do not believe that she has any chance of being elected because she is far too left on some issues and too much of a weather vane on other issues. If the Republicans come out with a strong candidate (Senator, McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Jim Gilmore, Dr. Rice), I do not believe that the Democrats have a very good chance of winning.

Either way, I believe that next year's election will be a very hot election. It will interesting to see how the everybody-but-white-people party responds to a strong Republican candidate this time.

"If you need me for the war effort, I'll be in Alabama drinking beer and snorting coke"

G.W Bush 1967

"If you need me for the war effort, I'll be in Alabama drinking beer and snorting coke"

G.W Bush 1967

The entire question of drugs should be approached from a public health standpoint rather than a criminal one (i.e. the way alcohol abuse is treated, admittedly far more dangerous than marijuana). In addition, for those claiming godly lifestyles, the measure of morality is the Bible (or whatever holy text is prescribed by your belief system), not the law. You'll recall that the abolition movement was illegal, as were Dr. King's desegregation marches.

I don't think that past use should disqualify Sen. Obama from holding the office in the same way as it didn't disqualify the current president. Further, many of history's greatest figures grappled with difficult alcohol/substance/excess issues (Gen. Ullyses Grant among others) yet the courage to confront and defeat those demons or at least not let them prevent you from discharging your duties is what demonstrates their strength.

Several comments posted above cite that the use/abuse of recreational drugs is enough to keep applicants out of the FBI, secret service, etc.. That is an idiotic rule that probably eliminates many highly qualified applicants. Until dope is legal, law enforcement agencies should replace that rule with random drug testing. The problem isn't the breaking of narcotics laws through drug use as a student or young adult in decades past. Current and recent use should be the issue.

You people think the Republicans are going to use this against Obama?! IT WILL BE THE DEMS and HILARY that tear Obama to shreads over this. He'll never get out of the primaries if she has anything to do about it!

I will say one thing, this admission of his is sure getting him a whole lot of free publicity. It has been said that publicity, good or bad, is always a plus.
Read some of the comments posted and you will see both sides. Some posts are either from those now using or did use. Some are dead set against it. Those who condone the use of illegal drugs out number the ones against it.

THAT ladies and gentlemen is sad!

it is so funny watching the scumbag liberals back pedal, and try like hell to make others believe that bush did drugs. Thay have absolutely no proof, just twisted liberal lies as usual Yet they will come up with every excuse in the book to bolstor the admitted illegal drug use of their candidate. Soe of these liberal knucklheads even said his drug use was a plus. Liberalism is a mental disorder.

JUSTN and TOM...SHUT UP!! You two are sooo sad..."the everybody but white people party" and "Liberalism is a mental disorder"??? UNBELIEVABLE... and the very reason why our country is in the state it's in because of the people like you in office making decisions for the very people who were raped and killed off this land to begin with who now want to return but CANNOT...and the people who were stolen from other parts of the world and forced to build this country for FREE and still can't get a decent paying job!! You've more than likely been rather priveledged all your life and have no clue what it's like to live without decent education systems, decent housing and safe surroundings!! I'm glad somebody finally will be able to relate to the people who have been overlooked and underpriveledged for so long....SO WHAT they take a couple bucks off your paycheck....we'll call it giving back what's been due....Because this land is not our land....we stole it...and made it ours and now want to decide who's going to have and have not...call me a traitor but when can we truly say everyone in this country is treated as an EQUAL...I hope that day comes soon with the contry's first African American president that I will vote into office!!

That story blew over pretty quick. I haven't heard anything else about it other than the initial buzz.

I dont agree with drug use at all. I choose to live a clean and healthy lifestyle. It is good that he admitted that he did wrong. As long as he is no longer using in any way shape or form, I think it was in the past and lets just focus on future issues. He lives a good healthy, honest lifestyle now that is drug free.

What is interesting is when people say "I like what Obama stands for". What is it Mr Obama actually stands for? When people who say "I like what he stands for" are asked, what is it he does stand for, most say "well, I don't know, but I am sure when he tells us I will like it".

If he did use coke he should have not been elected to congress. I for one do not want a drug head coke user in congress mush alone as Presdient of the country. He may be a coc*sucker for all we know, like hillery is. WE don't need these fools in washington!!!

I remember thinking back in 1991 that Bill Clinton was "unelectable". He had countless sexual abuse charges against him and he was obviously unprincipled and untrustworty. But the US electorate thought otherwise. The result was 8 years of despicable behavior in the White House and resultant weakening of the moral fiber of our country. A whole generation of kids were brought up to think that oral sex was ok because it wasn't really "sex". And lying under oath? Well, the President did it and it was ok. It's certainly ok for the kids to lie to authorities and their parents. Now we have Barak Obama, an admitted felon from the use of illegal drugs. Is that OK too? Must be, according to the majority of comments on your blog. How unfortunate. An admitted felony drug user has the respect of so many people that want him to be President. I for one, know lots of people who don't do drugs, don't seek out illicit sex, don't lie and are otherwise of good character. Doesn't that matter any more? What a shame that the core values of our country are so abased that it allows a man like Clinton or Obama to be seriously considered as our leader; political as well as moral, and as the Commander in Chief. Bummer.

Can some people deal with alcohol and other drugs better than others? WBR LeoP

Public health experts agree this definition is incomplete. WBR LeoP

It should be interesting to see how this goes down, if only for the cultural implications for the future. I'm 20, and my generation, when we come of age, will be the first to run for office having grown up with the internet: with myspace, facebook, youtube, livejournal and so on, all of which have documented our many indiscretions. Obama's honesty about his past drug use could be a step in changing attitudes in what we, as a nation, accept in a person's past. The zero-tolerance policy shown in many schools, businesses and campaigns, who do extensive internet background checks, will not hold up once the "myspace generation" comes of age. Either the majority of would-be politicians won't be, or we're going to have to accept a certain amount of questionable behavior in a person's past.

This is not to say that we should accept a politician or anyone else for doing illegal drugs. I mean to say that we are going to have to accept that the activities undergone in one's youth do not, in fact, condemn you morally, ethically or otherwise. Obama admitted openly that he did drugs as a teen, but that he was being "dumb", acting in the typically impulsive teenage manner. He is not Marion Barry; Obama no longer does drugs as an adult, when his capacity for reasoning is fully developed. Personally, I have no problem with his drug use. I would have a problem with his drug use if it was recent, or if he lied about it, but since neither option applies, I don't believe that his actions as a troubled teenager negatively affect his leadership abilities today.

He's by far the first presidential candidate to do drugs. He is, however, the first to be open about it. Do we want to live in blissful ignorance about our leaders, ignoring any possible transgressions, or do we want to have a leader who is honest, and learns from and owns up to his own mistakes?

several stated "so what" to Obama's actions but although you dont think it is relevant many other people do and that is part of the reason we are the country others dream of and come to legally and illegally,(difference in opinion) those are the ones he need to convince that he is the best man for office. but it is relevant if he still uses or may have urges to use; the past is just that the past and people can change for the better; besides this country needs a change too many things has happen in the past 6yrs that democrats and republicans do not like and are tired of and has an effect on everyone. as alice stated her generation will be the next generation in office in the next 10-20yrs and alot of indiscretion from that generation has been documented on myspace blogs or anywhere else which means that although their actions (as a juvenile)will be questionable does not mean that as an adult decisions now made are not logical. no one is exempt from making mistakes and as stated before thats how we learn they serve as a guide as long as we learn from them. move forward with an open mind

Drug use should automatically disqualify you from running for higher office. If you don't care enough about the laws of the United States to respect and uphold them, then what faith do we, the taxpayers, have that you won't revert to additional criminal actions once in office?

There is plethora of hate here. It's unfortunate that the point has eluded even some that answered intelligently. The system is flawed. People are, also.
The point is...now that we are all one. God is Love, and inside everyone of us. Open your eyes, brothers...love one another no matter what. We will overcome as a race, and embody PEACE. Let us spend all the money we currently do now instead on feeding and clothing the hungry of the world, which it would do MANY TIMES OVER NOT ONE EXCLUDED. Then, we could move together as one, and explore outer space together...forever.
I know, already there are those of you who laugh at me...or doubt immediately what I say, because it is a utopia I seek. For those of you,I ask...what is it YOU seek?

i think we all know which other world leader did coke and pot. at least obama is honest about it. maybe thats a quality we could use in a president.

Everyone has made a mistake sometime in their lifetime, does this mean that because you make a mistake you should be penalized for the rest of your life. It this what you want to teach your children, if so what happens when the decide to try drugs, have under age sex, or steal something. I admire anyone who can admit to their past mistakes and is willing to share this information to the world. I would vote for Obama based on his ability, knowledge, dedication, committment, honesty, and qualifactions. Look who is in charge now, how many lies has this President Bush told to the American people. So for the people out there in the great Country who believe its ok to vote for someone has been dishonest to the American people and the world. They must tell their children if you ever make a mistake just lie, you might want to be president someday.

I'm not American, but some of the posts scare me. You are a truly demonic nation. You worship war and you keep expanding you empire of hate.

I have travelled with many of you and it is truely sad to witness what countless hours of "Faux" news has to limit your ability to engage in critical analysis.

I believe coke use would stop someone from serving in the Military, Getting a Secret Clearance, FBI or DEA job. Interesting.

As far as Hillary is concern, I remember watching her on TV saying that she was absolutely certain that her husband did not have sex with ML. Now either she was totally naive or a bold face liar; Neither one are characteristics that I think qualify her for her senate seat or worse yet a presidential canidate. But that's what politic players do; they say what they think you want to hear regardless of the truth. I, at least appreciate an honest man.


I say "SO WHAT?" too... at least he admits to it and doesn't LIE as President Bush do... all the time... or anytime..... because we all agree (democrats and republicans) the President of the United States and the most influential nation of the world is a liar.

I think he will make a great President. At least he spent his time doing worthy things like this book knowing that this kind of comments could harm his law career or his political future. Bush was doing... what? exploiting oil fills or masking his dubious soldier career?

I'll stand by him.

He will get a pass of course. He's a Democrate and a Liberal to boot. With those credentials no self respecting major media reporter would touch him on the issue unless it to show him in a positive light. So, it makes no difference at all and in fact it will probably work for him instead of against him. He has cleverly put it behind him already.

My perspective is it really shouldn't matter since it was so long ago.

I like the man but couldn't vote for him for two reasons. One, too many of his political stances are sure to harm the country. Two, he's a lawyer.

All I can say is, the guy deserves credit. He admits he's human!

This is neither a democratic or republic issue. It seems that both parties are allegedly in the wrong. Yes, Clinton did not inhale but he also said "I did not have sex with that woman." So if he can lie about that then why cant Bush lie about doing "cocaine"? So, Obama admitted to doing cocaine...that's a lot more than Bush did, correct? Bush can neither confirm nor deny the allegations of cocaine. Atleast Obama can give us a yes or no answer to the question. I am not saying drug use should be legal or accepted and I am not anti-Bush. I am just saying you can not judge one man when the others are just as bad, right? Who said politicians are supposed to be honest...Obama would be the first. Sadly, for that reason he probably wont even be picked for a political party...clinton will probably win it.

It's not a sad comment on illegal drugs prevalence in our society that the response to an individual's use is "So What" -- IT'S A SAD COMMENT ON OUR SOCIETY THAT ILLEGAL DRUGS ARE ILLEGAL!!!!

Why is it worse for a man to take a small dose of cocaine several times in his life which left him functional than to have gotten fall down drunk several times in his life? Why would we even think of saying his drug use *should* affect his chances when WE KNOW THAT over 60% of people have used pot in this country and thus MANY (probably over 60%) OF OUR POLITICIANS ARE LYING ABOUT IT! Isn't lying the problem with politicians, not ordinary dabbling in (unjustly) currently-illegal drugs? (By the way, I bet over 75%% of the people in this country over age 20 during Prohibition used illegal drugs. Should they have been our politicians in the 30's, 40's, 50's, etc.?)

Why is alcohol use not pursued the same way "illegal" drug use is? You know, alcohol was illegal at a time. SHOULD ALCOHOL USE DURING PROHIBITION HAVE BEEN A POLITICAL ISSUE IF IT ISN'T NOW?

Some day this country'll wise up -- I hope. Jailing people for using drugs is absurd and it tramples on our freedoms. Illegalize alcohol, sharp corners, guns, McDonald's burghers, and cars and protect us all from ourselves or just let the free men and women of this country live free. By the way, to an earlier poster, how exactly is cocaine use going to disqualify someone from serving in the DEA? There's no lifetime test for cocaine.

From a practical/medical standpoint -- because anyone who claims drug use is immoral or indicative of a bad character is an absurd person -- obviously, a few years of minor drug use have no significant affect on Obama or anybody -- otherwise we'd have a nation of mental defectives running around. GW's Bush's many years of hard drinking and at least moderate cocaine use, however, have possibly affected his brain significantly (as those usage patterns would do to anyone). They may have contributed to his speech problems. Now we've had many politicians who've certainly been affected by ARBD (Alcohol Related Brain Damage) -- but isn't that more of a concern than a little drug use which has no significant medical consequences?

Obama is more honest than the dozens (at least) of politicians on the national stage who've used cocaine and the (hundreds or thousands) of politicians on the national stage who've used marijuana and stay tight-lipped about it. This is a ridiculous subject. The man should be commended for his honesty.

Hopefully he'll right the most egregious injustice the people of this country have been subjected to since slavery. (Before you get up in arms, don't you think it's reasonable to compare enslaving people who've harmed no one else to the caging of people who've harmed no one else?) Hopefully we'll see a day where people are no longer caged for getting high on certain drugs while those who get high on others (e.g. alcohol) sit in the highest seats of power. And, from a practical standpoint, the War on the People Who Use Some Drugs is not reducing drug use and it is drastically harming the lives of those whom the war is being waged against. (Compare a legal opiate user with an illegal opiate user, for example legal morphine with illegal diamorphine[aka heroin]. Their lives are drastically different but not because of the drug being used or the amounts being used or the frequency with which it is being used. Obviously, dirty needles, infection from unsterile drugs, and overdose from not knowing the amount of drug in a dose are all consequences of the illegality, not intrinsic consequences of drug use.). In the caes of opiates and marijuana, the only thing standing between a normal life and the user is the laws. In the case of cocaine, amphetamines, and other stimulants the drug use itself can make a normal life impossible for some people. But, again, just as with alcohol, some people can live normal lives using those drugs daily, too. And just like alcohol jail doesn't solve their problems, either. Most importantly, it's absolutely immoral to lock a man in a cage if he hasn't touched you. Even the vengeful "eye for an eye" of the Old Testament wouldn't drive someone to mete out punishment to someone taking drugs.

Make no mistake, when you cage a man for drug "offenses" you're stealing parts of his life -- for no just reason -- just as a murderer who kills a person steals part of his life for no just reason. Whether Obama is the one or not, it seems to me reasonable to expect that the men and women who set this right will admit to using the same drugs that the majority of this country has.

It's not a sad comment on illegal drugs prevalence in our society that the response to an individual's use is "So What" -- IT'S A SAD COMMENT ON OUR SOCIETY THAT ILLEGAL DRUGS ARE ILLEGAL!!!!

Why is alcohol use not pursued the same way "illegal" drug use is? You know, alcohol was illegal at a time. SHOULD ALCOHOL USE DURING PROHIBITION HAVE BEEN A POLITICAL ISSUE IF IT ISN'T NOW?

Some day this country'll wise up -- I hope. Jailing people for using drugs is absurd and it tramples on our freedoms. Illegalize alcohol, sharp corners, guns, McDonald's burghers, and cars and protect us all from ourselves or just let the free men and women of this country live free. By the way, to an earlier poster, how exactly is cocaine use going to disqualify someone from serving in the DEA? There's no lifetime test for cocaine.

Obama is more honest than the dozens (at least) of politicians on the national stage who've used cocaine and the (hundreds or thousands) of politicians on the national stage who've used marijuana and stay tight-lipped about it. This is a ridiculous subject. The man should be commended for his honesty.

Hopefully he'll right the most egregious injustice the people of this country have been subjected to since slavery. (Before you get up in arms, don't you think it's reasonable to compare enslaving people who've harmed no one else to the caging of people who've harmed no one else?) Hopefully we'll see a day where people are no longer caged for getting high on certain drugs while those who get high on others (e.g. alcohol) sit in the highest seats of power.
Make no mistake, when you cage a man for drug "offenses" you're stealing parts of his life -- for no just reason -- just as a murderer who kills a person steals part of his life for no just reason. Whether Obama is the one or not, it seems to me reasonable to expect that the men and women who set this right will admit to using the same drugs that the majority of this country has.

What I will say is this: Obama has a logical and moral obligation. If Obama goes up to the White House and doesn't start putting the wheels in motion to legalize cocaine and pot, or at least decriminalize them, he should go turn himself in so he can serve the time for his drug use. Either you work for legalization or you serve your time -- those are the only actions that make sense. (That goes for regular citizens, too.)

what obama did was a bad choice . none of us are perfect and we all have some skeletons in our closets .none is above another ,and as a human being no one can say who is decent and wholesome and morals are above anothers .. bottom line things do happen and mistakes do occur

what I would really love to just bring to the attention of everyone posting on here is how straight for the throat the republicans are how they trash a whole group of people based on a difference in morals.

I feel alot more comforatable with a man that can admit the truth and not run from his past, atleast obama seems to have suffered in his life and may have a reason to have turned to some kind of comfort. Bush ran from a war to do drugs and fuck, and now that he is the president all he does is push forward the death of young men and women that aren't rich. I'm sorry but how the hell can his conscience not be affected. I refuse to believe that something as drastic as a persons life should be in the do as I say not as I do philosophy of a dull minded coward. Another thing to the people not for the benefits of all man, that say "why should I be responsible for the people around me?" because in the end who do you think the majority of our army comes from people that need money for school people that have no other way of making a better way for themselves and the ones that inlist for their own reason because they so choose even if they have things here well they are very few we have a man in office right now that couldn't do it and I believe that the guy that said he shouldn't be responsible for it is probably way better off than most people and would never have the balls to fight a war seems he can't even give up his little perks to save someones life. I'm glad that bible you thrust all over the place really affects how you act, I mean you sure are helping your community when it comes to saying how to act morally correct but when it comes to making sacrafice oh damn I can't give up my worldly currency to help another human being I'm glad your apparent faith goes as deep as the republican party flaunts it around. This is the problem everyone operates on one philosophy and they can't even examine their own teachings enough to realize if they really believe in what they said it wouldn't be so much about little green squares to measure happiness, but who am I to tell them whats wrong? I mean in 5 minutes after this is posted I'll just get called a liberal pussy and get told I know nothing about god and how the world works.

so what if barack obama did drugs its not half as bad as what i did last night to his kids

If Mr Obama isn't running on a platform of drug decriminalization, then he is nothing but a hypocrite who is not fit to be president.

Any person who is arrested for cocaine possession has the absolute moral right to loudly yell "this should have happened to you, Obama".

THAT is why a drug user can never be president, unless they run on a drugs decriminalisation platform.

As for those who say that he shouldn't be punished for the rest of his life for the actions of his youth, the position that he's running for is not 'rubbish man', 'janitor', 'computer programmer', or even 'mayor'. It's the President of the United States. There are plenty of other jobs that you can never have if you have a drug conviction.

If Obama gets in, every single drug-running gang in America has an absolute moral free-ticket, because what's good enough for the President is good enough for the people.

He used cocaine YEARS ago... His past drug use will have virtually no impact on drug use in this country. I'm sure there might be a few idiots that will be staring at a line of coke and think, "well if obama did it, i guess i could try it to." But if they're that stupid they'll end up doing the line anyways...

From the rest of the worlds sleeping subconscious, we are watching you AMERICA, flooded by your media, your mediocre intolerance is a nightmare sitcom, time to cast a spell, invocate the GREAT SPIRIT, be positive people, free your mind with peace, love and tolerance.

Relax, most people dont want anything to do with America we see enough of you on our TVs everyday, its like watching bahgdad news, the Americans are everywhere.You are a house of cards, you cant stand thought but its etched over your faces, America like Egyptian, Roman and the british empire you fade.(fade out with suitable christian captions)
If you can find it in your souls to change the way of politics at the top, then there will be personal action throughout your society to re invigorate the social fabric of America and the World. Obama is a little ray of sunshine!

How amazing to read this blog and see people's perspectives. I have to wonder if people are forgiving because of their passion for the candidate or because that is how they would treat any individual who has tried drugs once. The litmus test really would be what if this had been another candidate...would you still have the same response? The moral compass and judgements here are interesting to say the least.

The consensus of this group seems to be "so what, if a candidate for president of the USA was a drug user - if he's sincere and honest about his past mistakes, then I could vote for him to lead our nation"
What naivete' would jump from "forgive" a candidate's past bad judgment to "feeling OK" about his lack of experience in governing anyone, diplomatic exposure in government management, international saavy, and political maturity (beyond 3 years in the senate)? This one is not ready for prime time.

Helen Johnson,
I have to rebut you're question/statement: "What freedom do I have to not support people who are too lazy to get an education so that they can get a job that will enable them to be able to afford health insurance?" First of all, many people can't AFFORD a "good enough education" to get them a job that would enable them to afford health insurance. Health insurance is expensive! I'm 25, have 2 jobs, and I can't afford health insurance but I AM NOT LAZY. I also know plenty of people who can't afford it as well. Of course some people are lucky enough to have parents to pay for their rent and education until they do get that job that pays well enough to afford whatever they want. Good for them, but not everyone is that lucky. I'd love to continue school so I can get a better job but if I do, I will not only have to take a lot of work time off, but I will have more expenses just to pay for it. Please try to be more considerate of people who are not so fortunate. Vote Obama! He wants to make health insurance affordable for everyone, unlike Hillary who wants to just take it out of people's paycheck. People deserve a choice!

What a disjointed bunch of crap. Civil Liberty questions? You place politicians above the law of the land? Good God you can make the kid who bags your groceries take a drug test, the man who delivers your mail, truck drivers, all sports you support that testing but won't even consider asking our politicians to voluntarily take an oath of morality and volunteer for random drug testing? I am offering a road toward cleaning up politics and you in a surprising liberal fashion are taking the contra position. You below talk details about Cindy McCain's drug use a civilian who at the time was a volunteer, yet when someone brings up Obama's problem, a man running for President you cry foul? How do you know or even have the slightest idea how severe Obama's problem is/was? You don't and worse you will not question.

I bet most of all our former presidents have done drugs or something like them. They drank and chased women too. Did that keep some from being good presidents? Look at Andrew Jackson. He was a total roughneck. Obama has been honest about it and that is what is important. Minor things like that are used against candidates in campaigns but should be overlooked.

I vote for the Dems because they are the ones who use drugs. Hell I use drugs everyday and I don't see a problem with it. As a matter of fact, I think that Obama when he is elected should pardon all of us who have felonies on our records for using coke. If he was caught like me, he would be a felon and would not even have a good job, much less be president. So why should he have a clean record and not me? I am going to vote for him because I think he might pardon me and then I can be president some day like him. An I'll pardon everyone else. I'll throw coke parties at the white house. Go Obama.

When is it ok for a presidental canidate to nonchalantly admit drug use when that very same problem is taking over our country more and more. Talk to your kids...It is starting in elementry school these days. Its only getting worse.

CaptainReality -- you're right: Obama is a hypocrite if he doesn't work toward the legalization of drugs.

However, you write of a "moral free ride" being given to people.

The problem with that statement is that people ALREADY HAVE a moral free ride to take drugs!!! It's not wrong to take drugs!

In fairness, you mentioned the "drug running gangs", or something to that effect. Selling drugs, however, is the same: there is nothing immoral about selling drugs to an adult, just as there's nothing wrong with giving him a pointy stick that he just might manage to hurt himself with.

The problem with drug sellers is not that they sell drugs. It's that the illegality of drugs has created a situation in which drug selling is intertwined with violence and other crimes by necessity. The same thing happened with alcohol sales during Prohibition, as we all know.

Legalize drugs and drug-related violence (i.e. the only real crime in any way connected with drugs) ends.

Aka Barry Soetoro is still lying. We know dam well he is still using, and smoking, and what other vices he likes.He is a pathatic,pathological liar. He did not write "Dreams of my Father" Bill Ayer's admkited he wrote it.Go to his web site and see for yourself. Barry has never told one truth to mthis country, since the criminals of our country selected him for the job.Ans the idiot democrates that voted him in.He can't and won't ever tell you the truth about anything. He wouldn't know how if it bit him in the a-- From mad as hell

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 3, 2007 6:45 AM.

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