WHO LOST THE WAR?
SEPTEMBER 25, 1996
Today more fuel was added to this year's political firestorm over drug policy. The Parents Resource Institute for Drug Education, a non-partisan drug prevention organization, released a new study saying that the use of illicit drugs by 6th through 12th graders has reached the highest level in nine years. It's a trend also found in other surveys in recent months. Elizabeth Farnsworth talks to spokesmen for the Clinton and Dole campaigns, following this report from Kwame Holman.
A RealAudio version of this NewsHour segment is available.
Elizabeth Farnsworth discusses drugs and politics with aides from the competing presidential camps.
Bob Dole emphasizes the twin evils of drugs and crime in a speech at the University of Virginia.
President Clinton's speech on crime and drugs was delivered in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he received the endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
The worrisome report on rising drug use makes waves on Capitol Hill.
Two new and deeply troubling reports have just been released showing that drug abuse among 12 to 17 year olds doubled in the US between 1992 and 1995.
Because one of the appropriations bills tied up in Congress calls for sharp reduction in funds to fight drug abuse, Jeffrey Kaye of KCET-Los Angeles examines some local treatment programs, to better understand the issues.
March 20, 1996
Three weeks ago the United States said officially that it was not satisfied with Colombia's fight against drug traffickers. In a Newsmaker interview, Colombia's embattled President, Ernesto Samper, talks to correspondent Charles Krause about his relationship with the drug cartels.
June 24, 1996
The Supreme Court ruled today in two cases involving double jeopardy and the way this country has fought the drug problem.
April 2, 1996
Kwame Holman looks at the political furor that surrounds Judge Howard Baer's decision to deem 80 pounds of drugs inadmissible evidence, a decision he has since reversed.
SEN. BOB DOLE, Republican Presidential Candidate: Just don't do it, just don't do it, that'll be our slogan.
KWAME HOLMAN: Bob Dole's anti-drug message was a relatively late edition to his presidential campaign developed right after drug use in America suddenly became a hot political issue in August. The Department of Health & Human Services had just released a report showing drug use among young people ages twelve to seventeen doubled between 1992 and 1995, ending a ten-year decline. Bob Dole used the issue immediately.
SEN. BOB DOLE: The drug abuse among young Americans has more than doubled in the last four years under President Clinton, a 105 percent increase in marijuana use. That is a national tragedy. And it's enough to cause every single American to ask the people in the White House, where have you been the last four years, Mr. President, where have you been the last four years, Mr. President?
KWAME HOLMAN: And at almost every campaign stop since, Dole has continued to blame the President for the rise in teen drug use.
SEN. BOB DOLE: It began almost the day this administration was sworn in, when they cut the drug czar's office, the drug policy office, control office by 83 percent, 83 percent. Then the cut by more than half the Defense Department's budget for planes and troops to help keep drugs from ever crossing our border. Then they proposed cutting the number of drug enforcement agents by more than 600 in the United States.
KWAME HOLMAN: And Dole has followed up his stump speech attacks with a series of television ads. One of the most recent uses the President's own words.
AD SPOKESPERSON: We send them off to school and we worry. Teenage drug use has doubled since 1992. And Bill Clinton, he cut the White House drug office 83 percent. His own surgeon general even considered legalizing drugs, and in front of our children on MTV, the President, himself--
BARBARA WALTERS: If you had it to do over again, would you inhale?
BILL CLINTON: Sure, if I could. I tried before.
AD SPOKESPERSON: Bill Clinton, he just doesn't get it--but we do.
BARBARA WALTERS: Did you really say you were sorry you didn't inhale?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: What I said--what I said was--
KWAME HOLMAN: President Clinton was asked to explain his MTV quote last Friday on ABC's “20/20".
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I was trying to say that I actually tried. I was not trying to exonerate myself when I said I didn't inhale, that I had an allergy and couldn't do it, and so--but I still believe that the important message is that these, these things are dangerous. I wish I'd never done any of it, although I did such a little bit. But it was wrong.
KWAME HOLMAN: But the Dole campaign then took those comments and produced a new ad.
AD SPOKESPERSON: Under Clinton's liberal policies, teen drug use has doubled. But now Clinton admits he was wrong.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I wish I had never done any of that, although I did such a little bit, but it was wrong.
AD SPOKESPERSON: For the thousands of young Americans who became hooked on drugs under Clinton, his apology is too little, too late. America deserves better.
KWAME HOLMAN: But President Clinton doesn't concede that the increase in teen drug use began on his watch.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Going way back to 1990, young people began to get the idea again that this was not dangerous.
KWAME HOLMAN: And he's responded to the attacks by telling voters along the campaign trail that he has made efforts to combat drug use. He begins with his appointment of Army General Barry McCaffrey as drug czar in January, which drew applause from both Democrats and Republicans.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: General Barry McCaffrey, a four-star general, was appointed to lead our war on drugs after he led our troops South of the border and did so much to keep drugs from coming into America. His strategy is targeted at doing those things which will keep drugs away from our children. We proposed the largest anti-drug effort in history, and I hope Congress will give us the extra $700 million we asked for so that we can do everything possible to really effectively turn these trends around and make sure that we have drug use going down, not just among adults, which it is--it's dropped--cocaine use has dropped by a third among adults in the last four years--we have got to get drug use going down among our children. We can't have these kids out there believing they are not in danger, when they are. (applause) And you have to help.
KWAME HOLMAN: And President Clinton also is attacking Bob Dole's record on combating drug use. One of the Clinton campaign's most recent television ads mocks Dole's new anti-drug message.
AD SPOKESPERSON: To fight drugs, all Bob Dole offers are slogans.
SEN. BOB DOLE: Just don't do it.
AD SPOKESPERSON: But look at what he's done--voted to cut the President's school anti-drug efforts by 50 percent, against creating the drug czar, against creating student loans, against the President's plan to limit cigarette ads that target our kids. Joined with Newt Gingrich to cut vaccines for children--that's the real Bob Dole record.
SEN. BOB DOLE: Just don't do it.
AD SPOKESPERSON: One slogans can't hide. President Clinton protecting our values.
KWAME HOLMAN: Dole, however, now touts an anti-drug plan to go along with his slogan.
SEN. BOB DOLE: And as President, I will encourage the movie, television, and music industries to embrace a no-use, zero tolerance message in the products they market to America's youth. And I will invite parents groups and educators and members of the entertainment industry to the White House for a conference to establish a voluntary strategy to end the glamorization of drugs. (applause) And as President, I will ensure that the Justice Department and federal prosecutors throughout the United States take a hard line against drug dealers. When it comes to fighting drug crime, our nation will keep its word.
KWAME HOLMAN: And yesterday at the United Nations, President Clinton called for a war against drugs on a global scale.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: The United States will do its part. Next week, I will target more than $100 million worth of defense equipment, services, and training to Mexico, Colombia, and other South American and Caribbean countries. These resources will help our friends stop the flow of drugs at the source. Now I ask every nation that exports the chemicals needed to make illicit drugs to create an informal group whose members will work to deny these chemicals to drug producers. We must not let more drugs darken the dawn of the next century.
KWAME HOLMAN: With the release of another report today showing higher teenage drug use, it's almost assured the problem of teenagers and drugs will remain a top political issue right through the election.