Gore: Past Marijuana Use Infrequent and Rare

  Gore: Past Marijuana Use Infrequent and Rare

Posted by FoM on January 24, 2000 at 19:06:04 PT
By Howard Kurtz and Ceci Connolly 
Source: Washington Post 

An allegation in a soon-to-be-published book surfaced on the campaign trail today as Vice President Gore denied that his youthful use of marijuana was more extensive than he has acknowledged. The allegation was made by John Warnecke, who worked with Gore on the Tennessean, a Nashville newspaper, in the 1970s and gave his account to Newsweek reporter Bill Turque for a biography of Gore.
Questioned about the charge by local reporters in Iowa, Gore said the story was "old news" and denied Warnecke's account that for years they smoked pot daily. He said he used marijuana "when I came back from Vietnam, yes, but not to that extent." Gore said in 1987 that his use of marijuana, which began in college, had been "infrequent and rare."Pressed further, Gore said: "When I was young, I did things young people do. When I grew up I put away childish things." He did not address his relationship with Warnecke.The incident is the latest example of how media coverage of an accusation – in this case by a recovering alcoholic who is being treated for depression – can intrude on presidential politics. The Warnecke charge created a ripple in media circles after Newsweek delayed a planned excerpt of Turque's "Inventing Al Gore: A Biography" in part because of concern about Warnecke's credibility. published an interview Saturday with Warnecke, whose allegations were discussed on "Fox News Sunday" and in yesterday's New York Post.In an interview from his California home, Warnecke freely acknowledged that he is taking prescription drugs for severe depression, that his family has a history of mental illness and that he has voluntarily been hospitalized for depression a number of times. Now living on disability, Warnecke said he considers himself an addict and had also used cocaine but has had no alcohol or drugs for 21 years.But none of that, said Warnecke, 53, changes the fact that he knew Gore "very, very well" as a friend and next-door neighbor in Nashville and later raised money for his campaigns. He says Gore used marijuana until the week he announced his candidacy for the House in 1976, or about four years later than the vice president has maintained.Warnecke said he told a different story in 1987, when Gore was gearing up to run for president, because Gore repeatedly pressured him to "stonewall" and "not to tell the truth" about their drug use. He said he felt "intimidated" by Gore."I made up a story that he smoked very little a couple of times and he didn't like it," Warnecke said. "He smoked a lot and he liked it." Warnecke said he felt "guilty" about lying and decided to talk to Turque because he "couldn't stand the pressure any more."Connolly reported from Davenport, Iowa.By Howard Kurtz and Ceci ConnollyWashington Post Staff WritersMonday, January 24, 2000; 8:00 PM © 2000 The Washington Post Company Related Articles & Web Site:DRCNet Denies Marijuana Charge In His Eyes Pot Tale Gives Mag Cold Feet Gore Go One Toke Over the Line at Law School? Dishonest Policy Bio Alleges Gore Used Marijuana For Years 

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on January 26, 2001 at 22:40:02 PT:

Campaign 2000 - Media Reality Check
For Immediate ReleaseSource: Media Research CenterDan Gabriel (703) 683-5004 Thursday, January 27, 2000 - Vol. 4, No. 4 2000 - Media Reality CheckMedia Leaped on Rumors of Bush Cocaine Use Without Any Accuser, But Gore Accuser Gets Little Play.Little or No Interest in Gore and MarijuanaLast August, national media outlets leaped on rumors of cocaine use by George W. Bush, even though reporters searching for people to accuse Bush of drug use could not find an accuser. Now longtime Gore friend John Warnecke claims Gore used marijuana regularly, right up to his 1976 run for Congress, four years later than Gore has claimed he stopped. Warnecke also claims Gore asked him to "stonewall" on the issue during the 1988 campaign. But the media aren’t exactly riveted: ABC has aired nothing, even though This Week jumped on the Bush allegations and Ted Koppel devoted a whole August 24, 1999 Nightline to it. CBS has aired nothing.CNN has aired nothing in its news programming.NBC Today host Katie Couric asked Gore about the allegations on Tuesday, both about the claims of almost-daily use and Gore’s request for a stonewall. In a taped interview on the same show, NBC’s David Bloom asked Bush if the story was fair.Fox raised the issue with Sen. John Kerry on Fox News Sunday and aired interview segments on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes. Time, U.S. News, and Newsweek have not touched it, although Newsweek created the issue by spiking a second excerpt of Bill Turque’s forthcoming Gore book detailing drug use, spurring Warnecke to talk. Newsweek’s Howard Fineman was the first to ask George W. Bush in the November 16, 1998 issue: "If you're asked specifically about marijuana or cocaine [use in your past], what's the answer?" The New York Times printed a 260-word piece Monday on Page C11 detailing Newsweek’s delayed excerpt, with no mention of Warnecke’s allegations of stonewalling. Associated Press put out a 134-page dispatch Monday with no mention of Newsweek or a stonewall.The Washington Post ran a story Tuesday on Page A9 mentioning both the Newsweek delay and the stonewall allegations. The Los Angeles Times published a front-page story on Gore Tuesday which arrived at marijuana in paragraph 33. The story did not mention Newsweek or a stonewall. USA Today gave it 84 words on A6 Tuesday with no mention of Newsweek or a stonewall. National Public Radio ruined the Supreme Court nomination of Douglas Ginsburg in 1987 by reporting his marijuana use, but Guy Raz whimsically reported on Wednesday night’s All Things Considered about a recent Gore interview on MTV: "Gore reveals he was the Cheech Marin of the leading contenders." -- Tim Graham
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