Obama Drug Use Minimal: Old Friends

Candor about teenage 'bad decisions' may have been overstated
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2008 7:07 AM CST
Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., makes remarks during a news conference following a tour of the McKinstry Company, Friday, Feb. 8, 2008, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – In his memoir Barack Obama makes a rare admission—for a politician—of  “some bad decisions” as a teenager, of indulging in drinking and drugs before political activism led him out of apathy. But friends remember an already-focused Obama: an eloquent, poised young intellectual, active against South African apartheid and moderate in his lifestyle. "He was not even close to being a party animal," a college friend tells the New York Times.

In a piece examining whether Obama might have overstated his coming-of-age challenges, college classmates say, "If someone passed him a joint, he would take a drag," but he never seemed to be grappling with drug problems. “As far as pot, booze or coke being a prevalent part of his life, I doubt it,” said a high school friend, who admits he pressured his classmate into drinking beer.