Bush on Cocaine? Don't Believe It Yet

An explosive old allegation about cocaine use by President George W. Bush – albeit one updated with details regarding place and time – has re-surfaced in a new book by trashy writer Kitty Kelley. The book, "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," is set for release on Sept. 14. In details first reported in London's Daily Mirror, Kelley alleges Bush used cocaine at Camp David, the presidential retreat, during his father's presidency.

That's new: most previous allegations stemmed from charges of drug use in the 1960s and 1970s. But daddy was president from 1988-1992.

The allegations are problematic for several reasons.

First, they are lobbed by former Bush sister-in-law Sharon Bush, whose messy divorce from the president's brother Neal was full of incredible charges and counter-charges.

Second, they are reported by Kitty Kelley, whose many critics consider her to be a novelist rather than an author of nonfiction, and whose outrageous claims – about Sinatra, the Reagans, Jackie Kennedy and others – have been strongly challenged.

Third, the allegations were first reported in the Daily Mirror, the reputation of which is not quite as high as that of American tabloids like The National Enquirer.

So where does that leave us? Recall that shocking allegations of irresponsible substance abuse surfaced only a week before the 2000 election – stemming from a drunk-driving stop in Maine – and Bush was victorious then. (Or almost victorious, depending on your point of view.) Will Kelley's allegations be sufficient to turn the tide against Bush? Probably not. Heck, if a guy who traded Sammy Sosa for a ham sandwich and couldn't find oil in Texas can become president, then this probably won't hurt him.

That Bush probably used cocaine in his youthful past is not news in any sense of the word. That Bush may have used cocaine as recently as the 1990s is a story that may end up having legs. But readers should keep in mind that the information originates from poisoned sources like Kitty Kelley, Sharon Bush and the Daily Mirror.

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