Clinton: I Never Denied Smoking Pot

Bill Clinton opens up about his infamous drug quote

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Martin Schalk / Life Ball 2011 / Getty Images

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks during the 19th Life Ball show at the Town Hall in Vienna on May 21, 2011

In an interview with Fusion TV’s Jorge Ramos on Tuesday, Clinton said he “never denied” smoking marijuana. “I didn’t say I was holier than thou, I said I tried. I never denied that I used marijuana,” Clinton said.

President Obama has been open about the fact that he experimented with both marijuana and cocaine when he was younger. Ramos asked if Clinton were running now if he would answer questions about his drug use differently. Clinton said the original answer he gave during his presidential campaign in 1992 had been twisted by the media.

Clinton famously claimed he didn’t inhale when smoking weed during his Rhodes scholar years. “When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and didn’t like it,” Clinton said. “I didn’t inhale, and I didn’t try it again.”

Looking back now, Clinton says, “I told the truth. I thought it was funny. And the only journalist who was there said I told the truth.”

Clinton skirted the question as to whether he would have approached immigration differently from Obama. “It’s just not fruitful,” Clinton said. “It’s not fruitful to go back over that ground.”

The former President did make the point that had the public elected a different Congress, immigration reform might have passed by now. Top Republicans in the House of Representatives have refused to vote on a large-scale immigration bill.

He also noted that he has “serious reservations” about spying on world leaders. “Well, it depended on who they were,” Clinton told Ramos. “If we thought they were engaged in hostile acts against the United States … then [American agencies] might do it. But — I’m not sure — we didn’t have the capability then to do a lot of what’s being done today.”

On the subject of the 2016 election, Clinton said he doesn’t know if his wife is running in 2016. “She’s trying to finish her book. She’s gotten her – several projects up and going with our foundation,” he said. “And she believes, and I believe, that the four-year campaign mania is a big mistake.”