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Barack Obama, His Drug Use and the Drug War

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posted 10:21 AM EST, Fri January 18, 2008
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The Clinton campaign again came under scrutiny after an influential supporter publicly raised the issue of Obama's past drug use - and voters this week had their own questions about his past, and future thoughts on drugs.

Barack Obama's high school drug-use revelations continued to color campaign news this week as political rivals threw innuendo and voters questioned policy.

Clinton campaign supporter, BET founder Bob Johnson apologized yesterday for comments alluding to Obama's drug use, made in "a zeal to support Hilary Clinton". This was the second such embarrassing incident emerging from the Clinton camp, the first having caused the resignation of Bill Sheehan in December (Clinton's New Hampshire campaign coordinator) after he questioned whether Obama's high school drug use would give Republican attacks real substance.

Obama's drug use (he has admitted in his memoirs to experimenting with marijuana and cocaine during his youth) prompted a voter in a town hall meeting to inquire about Obama's plans for the war on drugs, specifically, whether he planned to continue the fight. The voter referred to Obama's personal history with drugs in his question

While skirting the reference to his personal use of drugs, Obama replied that he has no plans to legalize illicit drugs, but that there needs to be a shift towards treatment and away from incarceration for first time drug offenders, calling prison a place where these first time offenders only learn advanced lessons in criminality.

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