Earlier, I noted that Obama's full-disclosure approach to past drug use defines him sharply against Bill Clinton's "I didn't inhale." Now, it looks like Obama can't help but elaborate. When a New Hampshire questioner asked Obama if he'd ever inhaled, Obama responded:
"I did. ... I never understood that line. The point was to inhale. That was the point."
Obama's literal answer will surely endear him to his college-educated base (and not a few New Hampshirites), but--good as the symbolic contrast between him and the Clintons is--it seems unlikely he'd want to take Mitt Romney's bait and let this become a larger campaign issue. After all, most Iowa caucusgoers aren't exactly members of the "post-DARE generation."
UPDATE: Now Rudy Giuliani is rebuking Romney and defending Obama--likening the drug confession to his own Augustinian I'm-not-perfect-but-elect-me-anyway narrative.
I can't help but wonder: Are we seeing a clash between theological notions of personal responsibility? Mitt Romney, Mr. Perfect Mormon, blasts Obama for setting a bad example even though "most of us, if not all of us, in our youthful years have engaged in various indiscretions." (Mitt seems to be excluding himself, though we know he did sneak out to watch movies in his youth). Meanwhile, Giuliani, whose theology tends to color his politics, is touting confession and forgiveness--both for himself and Obama. Is it faith or good works that qualify one to become president?