In New Drug Ad, Dole Shows Clinton Saying He'd Inhale Marijuana
Sep. 20, 1996
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Getting personal in his political drug war with President Clinton, Bob Dole launched a new television ad today that includes footage of a laughing Clinton saying he would inhale marijuana if given the chance to relive his college days.
The new ad features footage from a 1992 MTV interview in which a college student asked Clinton about his earlier statement that he had tried to smoke marijuana while at Oxford University in the 1960s but had trouble inhaling because he was a nonsmoker.
``Sure, if I could. I tried before,'' Clinton said when asked if he would inhale if he could try again.
Dole was greeted by about 150 campaign workers when he arrived for work at the campaign's headquarters near Captiol Hill this morning. The supporters carried signs with slogans like: ``Trust Dole'' and ``Just Don't Do It Even If The President Does.''
Dole smiled and waved to crowd as he made he way to the office. He did not speak to reporters.
After he entered the building, a boom box played ``I'm Still Standing,'' by Elton John, a reference to the tumble from a campaign platform Dole took during his three-day road trip this week.
Dole mentioned the Clinton remarks for the first time on Wednesday, suggesting they sent an alarming signal to young Americans that it was OK to experiment with marijuana and other drugs.
Sending the opposite message, Dole then unveiled his anti-drug slogan _ ``Just Don't Do It'' _ and promised to make it as well known as Nancy Reagan's ``Just Say No'' campaign during her husband's presidency.
``We will never have a firm, confident national message against drugs when our leaders are ambivalent themselves,'' Dole said in a speech to newspaper editors Thursday in Denver. `` ... I will dedicate my presidency to restoring the moral clarity with which our government speaks.''
Earlier this month, Clinton insisted the MTV question was lighthearted and that he did not mean to suggest experimentation with drugs was acceptable. And in an interview airing tonight on ABC's ``20-20,'' the president tells Barbara Walters that he was sorry he had tried marijuana in college, even unsuccessfully. ``It was wrong,'' he said.
Dole returned to Washington late Thursday night. Next week, he is to return his campaign focus to his tax-cutting economic plan, including a speech at the Detroit Economic Club.
Dole spent this week in the West, casting Clinton as silent and absent in the war on drugs, blaming the president's ``naked leadership'' for a recent doubling of drug use among 12- to 17-year-old Americans. In addition to his campaigning on this issue, his campaign last weekend launched its largest advertising buy, spending nearly $5 million to air its first major anti-drug spot.
The new ad is clearly targeted at parents as Dole tries to make up ground among suburban couples _ especially mothers.
``We send them off to school, and we worry,'' says the announcer in the spot as images of school children appear on screen.
``Teen-age drug use has doubled since 1992. And Bill Clinton? He cut the White House drug office 83 percent. His own surgeon general even considered legalizing drugs. And in front of our children, on MTV, the president himself...'' the announcer says as the MTV footage is shown.
``Bill Clinton doesn't get it. But we do.''
Dole aides said the new spot would air until the middle of next week in target states, and then be replaced by a new ad focusing on economics.
In his speech to the Associated Press Managing Editors association, Dole scored Clinton: ``The actions of the president and the government he leads must convey the message that drugs and violent crime are morally repugnant in a great society.''
During a question and answer session, Dole responded to Democratic criticism that he voted against legislation in 1982 that established the office of the White House drug czar.
``We didn't need a drug czar in 1982. We had Ronald Reagan in the White House,'' he said.
A day after criticizing the entertainment industry for glorifying drug use in music and movies, Dole tailored his message to his audience of editors, urging them to dedicate more newspaper space to the issue.
``It is my view that soaring teen drug abuse and the resurgence of a drug culture is one of the important news stories of our times,'' Dole said. ``Without information there is no concern. Without concern there is no resolve. Without resolve there is no change.
`` ... The drug war won't be won through ignorance. In some important ways, all of us are depending on you.''