What Happened: Inside the Bush White House: on Drugs

George W. Bush: Former bad habits are message to learn from experience

Reporters earlier in the campaign had questioned Bush about whether he had used cocaine in his young adulthood. Bush had consistently brushed aside questions about his past with a deliberately ambiguous quip: "When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." Most reporters and commentators--and most voters, too, I would bet--understood the message. Bush was, in effect, acknowledging that he had made some mistakes involving drinking and drugs, while at the same time refusing to be drawn into an endless line of questioning about exactly what he'd done and how it might affect his fitness for office so many years later. Bush would then segue into the broader point he wanted to emphasize: the most important message baby boomers such as himself could send to their children is that they have learned from experience and that their children should avoid repeating their mistakes.
Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p. 47-49 May 28, 2008

George W. Bush: Considered hypocritical for hard line on cocaine after using

Some critics asserted that [Bush's purported cocaine use in his youth] was a relevant issue. They suggested it was hypocritical for Bush to advocate tough mandatory sentences for users of relatively small amounts of cocaine if he had used it in his past, particularly when he hadn't faced any serious consequences for doing so.

"The media won't let go of these ridiculous cocaine rumors," I heard Bush say. "You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember."

As I worked closely with Pres. Bush, I would come to believe that sometimes he convinces himself to believe what suits his needs at the moment. Bush has a way of falling back on the hazy memory defense. Bush rationalizes it as being acceptable because he is not stating unequivocally anything that could be proven false.

In other words, being evasive is not the same as lying in Bush's mind. The former is acceptable, but the latter is not.

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p. 49-50 May 28, 2008

George W. Bush: Nov. 2000: DUI revelation probably cost Bush popular vote

Bush knew he had to address the media feeding frenzy about the DUI story. Breaking so late in the campaign, this story had the potential to alter the race. All the rumors about Bush's wild days of young adulthood were dramatically resurfacing with specific, documented evidence.

Bush said that the DUI story was, in essence, correct. "I've often times said that years ago I made some mistakes," Bush said. "I occasionally drank too much. I did on that night. I was pulled over. I admitted to the policeman that I had been drinking. I paid the fine. I regretted that it happened. I learned my lesson."

He had not disclosed the DUI conviction publicly before because he did not want his daughters to know about it.

What impact did the DUI story have on the 2000 election? Karl Rove believed the revelation was responsible for the Republican loss of Maine, where the news had originated, as well as the loss of enough support nationally to cost Bush the popular vote & send the election into overtime

Source: What Happened, by Scott McClellan, p. 52 May 28, 2008

  • The above quotations are from What Happened
    Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception,

    by Scott McClellan
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Drugs.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
  • Click here for more quotes by George W. Bush on Drugs.
  • Click here for more quotes by Dick Cheney on Drugs.
2016 Presidential contenders on Drugs:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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Page last updated: Feb 26, 2019