Clinton Takes a Stand on Cocaine, He Never Used It

Clinton Takes a Stand on Cocaine, He Never Used It
Posted by FoM on August 24, 1999 at 07:27:41 PT
By Andrew Cain,The Washington Times
Source: Washington Times
President Clinton entered the cocaine fray yesterday -- albeit by proxy -- saying he has never used the drug.
Gennifer Flowers, who had an affair with the president, told Fox News Channel on Aug. 18 that Mr. Clinton once told her he had used cocaine.   "The president has never done cocaine," said Jim Kennedy, a spokesman for the White House counsel's office. "That applies to his entire life."   As Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush tries to fend off questions about past drug use, Mr. Clinton addressed a rumor that has swirled about him for years.   In Roger Morris' 1996 book "Partners in Power," a dual biography of the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Morris quotes the president's younger half-brother on a 1983-84 surveillance film stating, "Got to get some [cocaine] for my brother. He's got a nose like a vacuum cleaner."   Roger Clinton pleaded guilty in 1984 to federal charges of cocaine distribution and conspiracy. He served half of a two-year sentence.   Questions about cocaine have taken on a new currency in politics this campaign season, even as questions Continued from Front Page marital fidelity and marijuana recede.   Lincoln Chafee, a Republican who is seeking a U.S. Senate seat in Rhode Island, told an interviewer over the weekend that he tried cocaine in the 1970s.   Mr. Bush, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has spent the last week battling drug inquiries that posed the first threat to his campaign juggernaut.   No one has produced any evidence that the Texas governor used cocaine, but his initial refusal to answer the question definitively only brought more queries.   The questions do not appear to have hurt Mr. Bush's campaign. He led Vice President Al Gore 54 percent to 37 percent in a CNN-Time poll released Friday. Perhaps most significant, 84 percent of respondents said that if Mr. Bush did use cocaine when he was in his 20s, it should not disqualify him for the presidency.   A Boston Herald poll conducted Thursday and Friday found that the cocaine questions did not hurt Mr. Bush among likely GOP primary voters in New Hampshire. Mr. Bush led the GOP primary field with 45 percent of the vote, far outdistancing his closest challenger, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, with 11 percent.   "The cocaine issue is just not cutting," pollster R. Kelly Myers told the Boston Herald.   Mr. Bush is getting ample advice from candidates and campaign operatives in both parties.   James Carville, Mr. Clinton's former campaign adviser, is urging Mr. Bush to clam up.   "The next time you get a drug question, the only appropriate answer is 'What part of no don't you understand,' " Mr. Carville writes in an article titled "Just Say No" in this week's Time magazine. "What you did 25 years ago doesn't matter; what you did during the past 25 days should matter."   But two of Mr. Bush's GOP rivals say he should open up.   Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah says Mr. Bush should answer the cocaine question and put the issue behind him. Gary Bauer, former head of the Family Research Council, chides Mr. Bush for his "Clintonian approach" of partial denials and partial explanations.   Through Wednesday, Mr. Bush offered his familiar response, that he "made some mistakes" in his past, but had learned from his mistakes and he would not answer whether he had ever used illegal drugs.   In Thursday's edition of the Dallas Morning News, Mr. Bush answered a specific question. He said he could pass an FBI security clearance, meaning he had not used illegal drugs in the past seven years. In Roanoke the same day, Mr. Bush went back 15 more years, indicating he had not used illegal drugs since 1974.   Mr. Bush said he could have passed such a background check "when my dad was president of the United States, a 15-year period."   As for Mr. Clinton, Miss Flowers said in an interview on the Fox program "Hannity & Colmes" that Mr. Clinton had smoked marijuana in her presence as attorney general and as governor.   "He made it very clear that if I ever wanted to do cocaine, that he could provide that," she said.   Miss Flowers said Mr. Clinton "also told me that there were times he did so much cocaine at parties that his head would itch."   But in March 1992, Betsey Wright, a Clinton campaign aide, told the Los Angeles Times that Mr. Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, had never used cocaine or knowingly been in its presence.   "I asked him the following questions" she told the newspaper.   " 'Bill, have you ever used cocaine?' He replied, 'No.'   "I said, 'Bill, have you ever been in a room where you were aware there was cocaine?' "   "He replied, 'No.' "   During his 1992 presidential campaign Mr. Clinton denied that he had a 12-year affair with Miss Flowers. But he later testified under oath in the Monica Lewinsky affair that he had a sexual encounter with the former television reporter and cabaret singer.   In November 1990, Mr. Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, pardoned Dan Lasater, a Little Rock bond trader and convicted cocaine distributor who had contributed to his campaign. Mr. Lasater once loaned $8,000 to Roger Clinton to pay a drug debt.   Mr. Clinton said in 1994 that he barely knew Mr. Lasater, and that the bond trader had contributed to the campaigns of other Arkansas Democrats as well, including Sens. Dale Bumpers and David Pryor. Published in Washington, D.C.5am -- August 24, 1999   Copyright  1999 News World Communications, IncClinton To Face The Cocaine Question - 8/20/99
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