Your Influence Counts ... Use It! The SPOTLIGHT by Liberty Lobby

Reprinted from, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive

Al Gore's Drug Past

  • Al Gore's past drug use has been glossed over by a willing press. Shouldn't the American public be aware of Gore's glaring hypocrisy given the fact that he may be the next to determine our national drug policy?
By Fred Lingel

Al Gore's regular drug abuse in the past (and the fact that he has lied about it) has been repeatedly glossed over by the mainstream press.

In one of the most egregious examples of how the Establishment media fails its readership, Newsweek magazine canceled publication of an an excerpt from a biography of Gore, Inventing Al Gore, written by one of its own reporters, Bill Turque. The excerpt featured a first-hand account of Gore's frequent use of marijuana before he decided to run for Congress in 1976.

Eventually, Newsweek reprinted a part of the biography, but only after the story broke on a national web site, DRCNet (

The following is an excerpt of an interview that John C. Warnecke gave to The Week Online, an Internet news publication.

A reporter for The Nashville Tennessean and a close friend of the Gore family, Warnecke is the son of famed architect John Carl Warnecke, who designed the John F. Kennedy grave site at Ar lington National Cemetery.

The Week Online's questions are in boldface; Warnecke's responses are in regular text.

Mr. Warnecke, Vice President Gore has said that he used marijuana "on several occasions" and "not since he was 24." But you say that you have first-hand knowledge that his use was more extensive than he has previously admitted?

Yes, I do. I have first-hand knowledge that he has not told the truth about his drug use. Al Gore and I smoked regularly, as buddies. Marijuana, hash. I was his regular supplier. I didn't deal dope. I just gave it to him. We smoked more than once, more than a few times; we smoked a lot. We smoked in his car, in his house; we smoked in his parents' house, in my house; we smoked on weekends. We smoked a lot.

Al Gore and I were smoking marijuana together right up to the time that he ran for Congress in 1976. Right up through the week he declared for that race, in fact.

And after that?

After that he began to distance himself from me. I was bad for his political career.

During the course of the 1988 campaign, you told The New York Times and The Nashville Tennessean that you had smoked marijuana with Al Gore ...

A few times. And I told them that he didn't like it.

Why didn't you tell the truth at that time?

I was put under pressure to lie.

Who was pressuring you?

The answer to that question is in the excerpt that Newsweek decided not to run. It's in the Turque book. Right now, I'm going to leave it at that.

So what made you decide to come forward now?

It's because I've been under a lot of stress. My conscience has been killing me ever since then. I actually came forward months ago when Bill [Turque] interviewed me for the book. I had been told that this story would come out, that the public would know this by now. But then the book date was pushed back, and Newsweek pulled the story. The only thing that I can assume is that Newsweek is covering this up, protecting the Gore campaign by refusing to run this before the primaries. I decided that I had to go ahead and tell it. I really feel that the public has a right to know this at this time, and I was having trouble with myself being part of the hypocrisy and the lies.


Yes. The drug laws in this country are ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people, mostly poor young people, people who don't come from privileged backgrounds and wealthy families. It just doesn't make sense that we have a war on drugs. It doesn't work, and the politicians refuse to talk about it. That suffering and that hypocrisy have weighed very heavily on my conscience. I have a saying that I use, and it is: "Who raised you?" In other words, were you raised with a conscience? Mine has made my life very difficult ever since I became part of the hypocrisy. I couldn't live with the lie anymore. Not and stay sober.

How long have you been sober?

Twenty-one years.

Congratulations. So, after 21 years of sobriety, do you consider Al Gore a criminal for his drug use?

I don't consider drug use a criminal act. Is drug use a poor choice? Yes. Is it risky behavior? Yes. Does it make any sense -- has it gotten us anywhere as a society to criminalize it? Absolutely not, unless you consider it progress that we're spending more on prisons than on higher education, and still the drugs are everywhere. But politicians refuse to talk about this issue honestly.

And what would you have Al Gore say about it?

I wish Al Gore would come clean. I wish that all politicians would come clean and deal with this in a rational manner. Look at all the damage the silence is causing.

And Newsweek?

Newsweek cut off information that the American people should have had in order to make an informed decision. Knowing Al Gore used drugs considerably more than he has admitted is important. Let the American people draw their own conclusions about it; let them decide how important it is.

We need to quit lying about it. Quit hiding it. To my mind, Newsweek censored this; they covered it up. And I think that the perpetuation of that silence over time has allowed us to go on jailing kids. Kids who are much younger and less equipped to deal with life than Gore was when we were using drugs together.