Oliver North, seeking a Senate seat in Virginia, dismissed as "hogwash" Saturday newspaper reports suggesting he turned his back on rumors that a plane supplying arms to the Contra rebels smuggled drugs back into the United States.
Separate stories in the Washington Post and the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, carried stories revisiting the 1980s controversy over how North and other Reagan administration officials dealt with the drug smuggling rumors involving the Nicaraguan rebels.
North, campaigning in Blacksburg, Va., said, "I'll give you a one-word reply: hogwash."
The former National Security Council aide in his diary has noted several rumors of alleged drug smuggling during 1984 and 1985. He also told congressional investigators in 1987 that in most cases he had passed the information to the Drug Enforcement Administration or the CIA.
The Post said the DEA had no record that North had ever notified it about the rumors. CIA officials could not be reached Saturday for comment.
Rumors affect Conn. campaign
HARTFORD, Conn. _ With unsubstantiated rumors of domestic violence swirling around his campaign, John G. Rowland, the Republican candidate for governor of Connecticut, has started running a television commercial in which he blames the Hartford Courant and "political enemies" for attacking him.
In the 30-second ad he says that he is disgusted by the rumors that "something awful" occurred between him and his former wife, Deborah.
The denials came as Rowland's divorce earlier this year has emerged as an issue in the race and appears to have taken its toll on his campaign, particularly with women voters.
Rowland has acknowledged that the police were called to his former wife's home in Middlebury, Conn., on April 9 in response to an argument between them. While the police released an "incident history" this month that says there was a verbal incident between husband and wife, both the Rowlands and the town of Middlebury have opposed making any additional documents public.
None of Rowland's opponents for governor have seized on the issue in their campaigns. But coverage of the controversy in newspapers and on television and radio has drawn much attention.
To smoke, or not to smoke . . .
NASHVILLE, Tenn. _ Bill Frist, the heart and lung transplant surgeon, knows that smoking kills. But Bill Frist, the U.S. Senate candidate, also knows that tobacco is Tennessee's top cash crop.
Frist, in a close race against Sen. Jim Sasser, promises to help educate people about the dangers of smoking while working in Congress for smokers' rights. During a recent campaign appearance, Frist told a voter that anyone _ "even children" _ should be allowed to smoke if their families approve.
Frist, a Republican, also says that he advises his patients not to smoke and wouldn't encourage anyone to begin smoking.