Despite having earned no votes in Thursday night’s Iowa caucus, Mike Gravel does not plan to drop out of the Democratic presidential primary race.
But the former Alaska senator’s poor showing meant that he did not qualify to participate in Saturday’s ABC News/Facebook/WMUR debate, the same fate that befell fellow Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Republican Duncan Hunter of California. Once again taking matters into his own hands, Gravel instead hosted his own Alternative Debate that was broadcast on local access television in Manchester and streamed live over the Internet.
Over the weekend, Gravel held campaign stops around New Hampshire in preparation for Tuesday’s primary. On Sunday, he spoke at a town hall meeting at the prestigious Philips Exeter Academy where he advised students that smoking marijuana is less harmful than drinking alcohol. Elliott Jacobson, a spokesman for the Gravel campaign, confirmed the statement, and emphasized the candidate’s intentions to end the war on drugs, decriminalize drug use, and legalize it.
“When it comes to students we’d like nobody to use alcohol or drugs underage, but unfortunately the situation in our inner cities, the reality, is quite the contrary, and you have young people using drugs, going to jail, and being prosecuted and we want to put an end to it,” Jacobson said. Using the analogy of Prohibition, he added that the Gravel camp believes that “the demystification of drugs” would, in effect, limit peoples’ abuse of them.
On Monday, the Gravel campaign — lacking funding for TV ads — released a compilation of short online videos which, according to a press release, were produced “with the exception of two, by staff members, friends and other non-professional film makers.” The video, All Things Gravel, offers a retrospective of the senator’s career and clips explaining his policy positions.