A top adviser to
Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said that Democrats
should give more thought to Sen. Barack Obama's admissions
of illegal drug use before they pick a presidential
officials said the Clinton people were getting desperate.
Leaders of Clinton's campaign tried to distance themselves
from the remarks Wednesday, and the adviser said later
he regretted making them.
Bill Shaheen, a
national cochairman of Clinton's front-runner campaign,
raised the issue during an interview with The Washington
Post, posted on WashingtonPost.com.
attorney and veteran organizer, said much of Obama's
background is unknown and could be a problem in November if
he is the Democratic nominee. He said Republicans
would work hard to discover new aspects of Obama's
admittedly spotty youth.
''It'll be, 'When
was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone?
Did you sell them to anyone?''' said Shaheen, whose wife,
Jeanne, is New Hampshire's former governor and is
running for the U.S. Senate next year.
''There are so
many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to
overcome,'' Shaheen said.
campaign said it had nothing to do with his comments, and
Shaheen said later he regretted them.
''I deeply regret
the comments I made today and they were not authorized
by the campaign in any way,'' Bill Shaheen said in an e-mail
released by the campaign.
spokeswoman, Kathleen Strand, earlier had said ''Senator
Clinton is out every day talking about the issues that
matter to the American people. These comments were not
authorized or condoned by the campaign in any way.''
manager David Plouffe said in response to Shaheen's
said attacking other Democrats is the fun part of this
campaign, and now she's moved from Barack Obama's
kindergarten years to his teenage years in an
increasingly desperate effort to slow her slide in the
polls. Senator Clinton's campaign is recycling old news that
Barack Obama has been candid about in a book he wrote years
ago, and he's talked about the lessons he's learned
from these mistakes with young people all across the
country. He plans on winning this campaign by focusing
on the issues that actually matter to the American people.''
Obama wrote about
his teenage drug use in his memoir, Dreams From My
Father. His rivals have largely remained silent on the
Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final fatal role
of the young would-be black man,'' Obama wrote. Mostly
he smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, he wrote, but
occasionally he would snort cocaine when he could
Manchester, N.H., high school students earlier this
month, Obama said he was hardly a model student and had
experimented with drugs and alcohol.
''You know, I
made some bad decisions that I've actually written about.
You know, got into drinking. I experimented with drugs,'' he
said. ''There was a whole stretch of time that I
didn't really apply myself a lot. It wasn't until I
got out of high school and went to college that I
started realizing, 'Man, I wasted a lot of time.'''
New polling shows
Clinton and Obama basically tied in New Hampshire. A
CNN-WMUR-TV poll conducted by the University of New
Hampshire shows Clinton at 31% support, Obama at 30%.
The same poll had Obama trailing by 20 points in
campaign has distributed its first flier that criticizes
Obama's health care plan for leaving 15 million people
without insurance. TV ads following the same theme
also have been prepared.
''This is not the
time to go back to the same old politics of 'Now I'm
going to smack you over the head with a baseball bat and
call into question your character,''' Obama cochairman
Ned Helms told reporters in a conference call earlier
Wednesday, decrying what he said was Clinton's
Democratic presidential rival John Edwards said of the
comments, ''I reject it. I reject it, and I want
nothing to do with that kind of politics.'' (Philip