People of Northwest Public Radio
It's All Politics
Fri May 25, 2012
Inhale To The Chief: More Details Of Obama's Pot-Smoking Youth Revealed
Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 1:37 pm
The first sneak peak a few weeks back inside journalist David Maraniss' highly anticipated biography of President Obama served up glimpses of the president as a young man in romantic relationships, with information gleaned from early girlfriends.
The latest preview of "Barack Obama: The Story" provides details on Obama's days in high school and college when passing a bong or a joint appears to have been a regular part of his routine.
Aptly, it's BuzzFeed where you can find Maraniss excerpts that shed light on the president's smoke-shrouded past:
"A self-selected group of boys at Punahou School who loved basketball and good times called themselves the Choom Gang. Choom is a verb, meaning 'to smoke marijuana...'
"... As a member of the Choom Gang, Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends. The first was called 'TA,' short for 'total absorption.' To place this in the physical and political context of another young man who would grow up to be president, TA was the antithesis of Bill Clinton's claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled."
Obama revealed in his memoir "Dreams for My Father" his youthful use of illegal drugs as he grew up in Hawaii. But Maraniss apparently fills in the picture with quite a few colorful details.
Maraniss tweeted a message Friday that sounded somewhat exasperated by all the attention being paid to young Obama's romances and pot use:
"No controlling the twitterverse, but...so much more to The Story than Genevieve diary and high school Choom Gang."
No doubt. But the book's June 19 release date is still a few weeks away. Meanwhile, presumably it's publisher, Simon & Schuster, deciding what spicy morsels to release ahead of time to whet our appetite for the book. We're just working with what they've doled out.
That said, you can imagine that there could be some very challenging conversations, at least from a parent's perspective, around the Obama dinner table between the president and his daughters about illegal drug use. How, for instance, does he respond to the line: "Well, Dad, it doesn't seem to have hurt you or your career."