In a stern condemnation of illegal drugs as poison, Bob Dole said of drugs and cigarettes Wednesday, “Let’s just throw them all out at the same time.”
Dole’s comments came at a schoolyard drug forum, where he upbraided President Clinton for the increase of teenage drug use. The Republican nominee, looking ahead to Clinton’s speech tonight to the Democratic convention, said he expected Clinton to announce a belated, electionyear war on drugs - and endorse Dole’s call for tax cuts.
“He’ll probably mention his war on drugs which he’s gonna start next year. It’s too late Mr. President,” Dole said to a sun-soaked crowd perched on picnic tables.
Likening the danger of drugs to that of a missile attack, Dole outlined his plan to use the military, CIA and National Guard to boost drug interdiction. He recalled reports that the White House had made special arrangements for security clearances for aides with a history of drug use.
“They have a different attitude about drugs. My view is drugs are wrong. You shouldn’t use drugs, you shouldn’t smoke cigarettes - let’s just throw them all out at the same time,” Dole said.
Asked later whether he was suggesting a ban on tobacco, Dole said, “Oh, no, come on. You know better than that.”
Dole, a former senator with a record of supporting the tobacco industry, has previously been most vocal in condemning cigarettes in the hands of young people while acknowledging an adult’s right to smoke.
Wednesday’s references to cigarettes in a speech about illegal drugs prompted reporters to ask whether Dole saw a link between the two. “I didn’t say anything about cigarettes. I talked about drugs, I said you shouldn’t smoke either, that’s all I said,” Dole replied.
Dole said Clinton’s “lack of moral leadership” on drugs has led to a doubling of teen drug use since 1992.
Democrats, in turn, fault Dole for voting in the Senate to cut back funds for anti-drug education and treatment programs.
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