Clinton Team: Obama Will Be Attacked on Drug Use

Clinton Team: Obama Will Be Attacked on Drug Use Hillary Clinton’s New Hampshire co-chair says that Barack Obama’s past drug use will hurt him if he should win the nomination.

Billy Shaheen, the co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in New Hampshire, raised the issue of Sen. Barack Obama’s past admissions of drug use in discussing the relative electability of the Democrats seeking the presidential nomination today.

In an interview, Shaheen said, he remains perplexed about why, at this fraught point in history, voters and the media are not giving more attention to experienced Democratic candidates such as Sens. Chris Dodd and Joe Biden and are instead elevating into the first tier alongside Clinton a pair of candidates with less experience in Washington, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Shaheen also expressed his personal misgivings about whether Obama or Edwards would be electable if they became the party’s nominee.

Among his concerns about Obama as the nominee, he said in an interview here today, is that his background is so relatively unknown and that the Republicans would do their best to unearth negative aspects of it, or concoct mistruths about it. Shaheen, a lawyer and influential state power broker, mentioned as an example Obama’s use of cocaine and marijuana as a young man, which Obama has been open about in his memoir and on the trail.

This is rather clever negative campaigning in the guise of professorial musing. Substantively, though, both arguments are silly.

While Clinton can reasonably claim more national political experience than Obama — although solely because of her time as First Lady — it’s rather strange for her campaign to point out that Obama’s deficit vis-a-vis Biden and Dodd. After all, both have leagues more experience than Clinton, too.

On the drug front, the winner of the last four presidential elections (Bill Clinton twice and George W. Bush twice) were admitted drug users. Clinton was coy with his “but I never inhaled” dodge and Bush refused to talk about his history, merely saying he was “young and foolish,” but only the most naive voters failed to get the message. Obama’s been more direct, to be sure, but I can’t imagine anyone otherwise inclined to vote for him will be dissuaded by his candor.

Image via News Hounds

Please follow and like us:
FILED UNDER: General, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    It seems to me that this is a risky strategy for Sen.Clinton. All that needs to happen is for one college classmate to come out and say that Hillary Rodham smoked pot.

  2. Mike says:

    While most voters would prefer that their candidate never have used drugs, I think that the 2nd best thing is for them to be honest about it if they did (as long as it was a long time ago and not yesterday). I don’t see this hurting Obama all that much – hell, if someone votes for Hillary, they are likely on drugs…or should be on drugs – Hillary becomes president, I may resort to drugs.

  3. Triumph says:

    The main problem with Obama is that he wrote an essay when he was in Kindergarten saying he wanted to be President. This type of blind amibition is problematic.

  4. Bithead says:

    First, who said:

    “Gotta get some for my brother. He’s got a nose like a vacuum cleaner!”

    (Hint: his brother was not alone, there.)

    Secondly…

    The main problem with Obama is that he wrote an essay when he was in Kindergarten saying he wanted to be President. This type of blind amibition is problematic.

    Laughable. Blind ambition, you say? What better example of such, than Hillary Clinton? And I suppose you think that’s not ‘problematic’?

  5. Steve says:

    The main problem with Obama is that he wrote an essay when he was in Kindergarten saying he wanted to be President. This type of blind amibition is problematic.

    First, the idea that this is a problem is sad. Shouldn’t children want to grow up to be President? I know that that trend has been declining in recent years, primarily due to recent inhabitiants probably. However, the desire of wanting to be President when one grows up is not odd or power hungry, it’s natural. Now maybe as you get older and you are calculating and devious about it, then we should worry. But a harmless kindergarten essay. Come on!

    As far as the coke use goes. The “Move On” and “Kos” crowd spewed this coke issue ad nauseum with respect to Bush and how it is one of many reasons he is the antichrist (not his refusal to admit it mind you, but for the alleged act itself). How will Barack be treated for the same offense?

  6. […] matter, and now she’s trying to get back to the White House by saying it does. (Hat Tip: Outside the Beltway.) Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

  7. Boyd says:

    Re: blind ambition

    Uh, guys? Remember, this is a Triumph comment. You remember him, the guy who does irony so well that it’s hard to tell when he’s doing it?

  8. Bithead says:

    I guess my response is indicative that I’m not sure HE knows when he’s doing it.

  9. Grewgills says:

    and now he is gone.