The Big Pitch: How would you advise George W. Bush to respond to cocaine-use allegations?

PETER ROSEGG, The Schiller Group, Honolulu

PETER ROSEGG, The Schiller Group, Honolulu

PETER ROSEGG, The Schiller Group, Honolulu



George W. should hang it all out now, over a year before the election,

and be done with it once and for all. With wife at his side, The W

should confess to Barbara Walters all rumors which are true and, if

possible, some true tales as yet unrumored. Past is prologue. Sure,

Republican opponents will try to beat him up, but so what? They will

look small, harsh and unforgiving. There’s no chance that Al Gore will

make an issue of it; Bradley is probably above that kind of politics,

too. Americans do NOT want choir boys for presidents, or anyone with ice

water in their veins. We want real people who we can mostly admire but

occasionally feel slightly superior to. This makes half the loaf for

George W.



JAMES MORAKIS, Morakis Associates, New York



There is little question that Gov. George W. Bush should come clean with

his distant past and reveal whether he took drugs. If he didn’t, which

is hard to believe at this point, all he has done by playing word games

is pique the curiosity of the press and string out a negative story. The

problem is, the longer he takes to answer the question directly, the

more negative it will be when the real story emerges. It’s not a

question of whether he feels his private life 25 years ago is relevant

today. As a matter of fact, I agree with him: it isn’t. Unfortunately,

in our society, these issues are made relevant.



DOROTHY CRENSHAW, Stanton Crenshaw Communications, New York



If George W. Bush used illegal drugs in the past, he should admit to it

and move on to the more substantive issues that make up the 2000

presidential campaign. I don’t hold with those who say that the question

is unfair, or that the matter isn’t relevant. In my opinion, it’s not

terribly important, but it is clearly relevant. He’s giving it far too

much importance with his coy refusal to address the question directly.

At issue here is whether he broke the law. That’s a relevant matter in

any election, and the public most certainly has the right to know if a

candidate for the highest public office in our country has violated our

laws, and how recently. Nearly everyone assumes that there is something

to admit here. If there weren’t, he would have issued a straightforward

denial months ago. To his credit, he hasn’t betrayed our trust by lying

about the matter; yet his hairsplitting and disturbingly Clintonian

answers to some of the recent questions about background checks have

helped to keep the issue alive. In my view, the public doesn’t need or

even care to know details (i.e. which illegal substances were used, or

under what circumstances) but we do need to know when and if he broke

the law, and that he regrets it. It shouldn’t be fatal for his

campaign.



In fact (though it pains me to say this as a Democrat) it may help him

by presenting him as a guy with a backbone - a contrast with President

Clinton, who misrepresented his own behavior to the American public on

more than one occasion. As we’ve seen time and time again, the public is

forgiving. George W. should come clean and tough out the consequences.



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