Give Me a Break! - 20/20 Transcripts Jan. 14, 2000

Give Me a Break! - 20/20 Transcripts Jan. 14, 2000
Posted by FoM on January 18, 2000 at 20:57:53 PT
Prepared by Burrelleís Information Services
Source: ABCNews
BARBARA WALTERS, ABCNEWS Do as I say, not as I do. Thatís the message that seems to be wafting our way from Washington when it comes to drugs, and that has lit a fire under John Stossel, who is here with tonightís Give Me a Break.JOHN STOSSEL, ABCNEWS Barbara, have you been listening to the politicians talk about drug use? I mean, about their using drugs? Itís amazing how hypocritical they are about it.
(VO) Presidential candidate Bill Clinton started things off in í92, when he was asked about his drug use and he said, ĎI have never broken the laws of my country.í It turned out to be one of those lawyerly language tricks because a reporter later asked him about laws in other countries.PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON The answer to that question is I have never broken a state law. And that when I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didnít like it and didnít inhale.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) Notice the smile? Itís clear drug use is no big deal to him.1ST MAN If you had it to do over again, would you inhale?BILL CLINTON Sure, if I could! I tried before!JOHN STOSSEL (VO) Itís a bit of a joke. Remember him playing the sax on TV? What got him the biggest audience response that night was talking about smoking dope.BILL CLINTON Thatís how I learned to inhale, by playing my saxophone. You blow out and then you have to inhale. I was 22- or 23-years-old, and I gave it my very best shot.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) What fun everyone was having. And itís not just the president who did drugs. The vice president did, too.SENATOR ALBERT GORE, DEMOCRAT TENNESSEE As a student a few times in the Army.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) So did others in the administration.MIKE MCCURRY, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY Did I smoke a joint from time to time? Of course.BRUCE BABBITT, FORMER ARIZONA GOVERNOR Didnít seem like a big deal at the time. Life goes on. And Iím pretty proud of what Iíve done in my life. Iím not losing any sleep over this one, Iíll tell you.GOVERNOR GEORGE BUSH I made mistakes...JOHN STOSSEL (VO) George W. Bush doesnít admit to drug use.GEORGE BUSH ...and Iíve learned from those mistakes.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) Nor does his father.2ND MAN Have you ever smoked marijuana?GEORGE BUSH No, but Iíd hate to speak for my kids.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) Clearly, thereís something funny about our leaders using drugs.3RD MAN You have not used any illegal drugs like that?BILL BRADLEY I have used marijuana several times in my life, but never cocaine.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) Reporters do keep asking the question.SAM DONALDSON, ABCNEWS Excuse me, Cokie. Recently, marijuana?BILL BRADLEY No.SAM DONALDSON When you were a kid?BILL BRADLEY Well, yeah, right. Have you?JOHN STOSSEL (VO) Laugh, laugh. Wink, wink.SAM DONALDSON I think a couple of times Iíve tried it. And I inhaled.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) No one seems to take this too seriously.4TH MAN Iím from the Falstaff generation.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) OK, I get it. Itís something to chuckle about. After all, 20 million Americans have tried cocaine. Seventy-two million have used marijuana.BILL CLINTON But it is not a big deal.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) But if itís no big deal, why did he, and his vice president, push for tougher drug laws, with longer jail time.5TH MAN Drug use is wrong. It is illegal.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) And why are we arresting more people than ever, 1 1/2 million Americans a year, on drug charges? The biggest category of arrest? Possession of marijuana. Not selling, just use. In fact, eight out of 10 drug arrests are not for dealing or running a drug cartel, theyíre just for possession.1ST OFFICER All weíve got him for is a small amount of marijuana.2ND OFFICER OK, take him in for that.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) We keep giving out big jail sentences, simply for possession. This woman was given 10 years for a first-time marijuana offense.JOANNE TUCKER They donít care who they lock up or for how long.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) Will Foster of Texas was sentenced to 93 years after he was caught growing marijuana. The sentence was recently reduced to 20 years, but thatís still pretty severe.WILL FOSTER Iíve never beat up anybody. Iíve never raped nobody. I havenít molested a child. I havenít killed anybody.JOHN STOSSEL (VO) Yet, he sits in jail while the politicians laugh about their drug use. Itís a little hypocritical.BILL CLINTON And I tried, but I just couldnít inhale it.JOHN STOSSEL Give Me a Break.BARBARA WALTERS John, it is very confusing. On the one hand, as you show, the politicians make light of their own drug use; on the other hand, the severe laws continue.JOHN STOSSEL It feels very wrong, that in a free society, we lock up so many people, a million Americans are in jail, many of them nonviolent people doing what these politicians did. We arrest more people for marijuana than for rape, robbery, murder, and aggravated assault combined. Doesnít feel right.BARBARA WALTERS Yet as a campaign issue, how severe the laws should be, or what should be our point of view, thereóit is barely emerged as a campaign issue.JOHN STOSSEL Everybody just says, weíre tough on drugs and thatís it.BARBARA WALTERS Hmm. So give us a break. Thanks, John. Weíll be right back.Friday, Jan. 14, 2000 (This is an unedited, uncorrected transcript.) Copyright ©2000 ABC News Internet Ventures. More Transcripts On Related Story:Newshour With Jim Lehrer Transcript - JUST SAY SO-1/18/2000 Is the White House Editing TV Scripts?-1/15/2000
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Comment #4 posted by WmCrome on January 29, 2001 at 09:11:47 PT:
Stossel Goes to Washington
Is there a Tape or Transcript available for this fine(refreshingly truthful) look at our Washington Power Brokers? As Reagan said - If these Liberals believe that we are all too incompetent to run our own lives, then who among us is competent to run everyone elses life?
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on January 19, 2000 at 15:43:04 PT
Bulldog mouths, puppydog asses
I would be a bit more careful before praising the media, friends.Consider; they have in fact let Georgie Jr., the Man Who Would Be King, effectively off the hook. They have not pressed the guy as much as they should. In fact, they have backed off. Have you heard anyone from the press demand an answer to The Questions:Did you or didn't you?and If you did, do you believe people should go to jail for doing the same thing you did and got away with?No, you haven't. And you won't. Because, for all their bulldog mouths, their puppy dog tails are wagging in unbearable anticipation of receiving some tidbit from the hand of the candidates. That's why they don't ask these brutally frank, hard questions and let these guys off easy. They're not watchdogs; they're the kind who licks the burglar's hand.
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Comment #2 posted by Oxnard on January 19, 2000 at 05:50:54 PT:
Kudos to ABC for running this
I'm very glad that Stossel did this piece and absolutely shocked that a mainstream news outlet like ABC would run it. This proves the point that we dont live in a democracy, but instead a hypocracy! We have a president who "smoked, but didn't inhale". The defacto Republican presidential nominee won't come clean on his drug use. Whoever is the next president is certain to lock more of us up for possessing a few grams of cannabis. I suggest that everyone vote for their third party candidate of choice. That's what I'll be doing!
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Comment #1 posted by legalizeit on January 18, 2000 at 21:21:41 PT
John Stossel for President!!
I've always liked John Stossel's commentaries and specials, especially those which expose the idiocy of the WO(s)D. I only wish politicians would take note, but I'll bet they're so busy dreaming up new laws to ruin people's lives that they don't think about watching television. 
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