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Molinari, McCurry offer apologies

Published Sep. 16, 2005

Dabbling with drugs was wrong, say two Washington officials who have admitted to youthful experimentation.

Rep. Susan Molinari, Bob Dole's choice to give the keynote address at the GOP convention, acknowledged using marijuana "a handful of times" during her college years.

"Looking back on it, it was the wrong thing to do," she said Friday. "If I knew then what I do now, I wouldn't have done it."

Molinari, who has a 2-month-old baby, added, "As a mother, I wouldn't even want my daughter to experiment with it."

White House press secretary Mike McCurry, who confessed last week to using marijuana as a college student, said he had some explaining to do to his own parents, and to his young children as well.

"I'll have to deal with my own mommy and daddy, who are not going to be very happy _ and were not very happy _ with me," McCurry said. "And I also have to look at my kids and explain to them why something daddy did years ago was something . . . they should not do today."

Last week, when it was disclosed that about 20 White House appointees are compelled to undergo surprise drug testing because of previous or recent drug use, McCurry told reporters that he used marijuana "from time to time" in the 1970s.

At the time, McCurry said, "the point is, if I use drugs now, in any shape or form, I'm gone, I'm history."

On Friday, he elaborated:

"I of course know that drug use is wrong. I know that's why this president has a zero-tolerance policy for drug use here at the White House," he said.

McCurry commented after a reporter sought White House reaction to Molinari's drug use.

Dole attempted to draw a distinction between Molinari's long-ago experimentation with marijuana and the use of "hard drugs" by some White House workers within the past five years, according to the Secret Service.

"I'm talking about recent drug use, hard drugs, cocaine, crack and other things," said Dole, campaigning at Kennebunkport, Maine, where he met with former President Bush.

"It has nothing to do with this."

Dole campaign spokesman Nelson Warfield said the Dole campaign wasn't being hypocritical. "You'd have to be on drugs to believe something like that," he said. "The difference is what the word "past' means."

As Senate Republican leader in 1990, however, Dole defended a GOP nominee who had admitted using cocaine once or twice, as well as marijuana, as a law student 17 years earlier.

"If he is to be held up to that standard then we are going to wipe out a generation of men and women who are about that age," said Dole then, "who may have experimented at one time or another with some type of drug."