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.
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