Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rivals Tell Bush to Address Drug Issue Past Use Won't Hurt Him, Contenders Say

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Rivals Tell Bush to Address Drug Issue Past Use Won't Hurt Him, Contenders Say

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- As questions about past illegal drug use continue to dog Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, some GOP rivals said yesterday that he should answer them directly and get the issue behind him.

But at the same time, his competitors and supporters maintained that past indiscretions, including possible use of illegal drugs, should not disqualify the Texas governor or anyone else from becoming president.

Noting that Bush has addressed the issue partially, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said yesterday on NBC's Meet the Press thatBush should "just answer the darn question and get rid of it."

There has been no evidence or credible allegation that Bush ever has used an illegal drug, although he has admitted to formerly drinking heavily and "mistakes" as a youth. Questioned repeatedly on the drug issue, Bush said last week that he had not used illegal drugs within the past 25 years, but would not elaborate.

"He has a right to privacy," said Sen. …

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