Photos: Top ten politicians who've smoked pot

Last week, onetime Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo revealed that he would take a single puff of a marijuana cigarette to settle a bet with a comedian-filmmaker.

Once he does, he'll join a large number of politicians who've done likewise -- and most of them admit it. Continue to count down our top ten.

Number 10: George W. Bush

George W. Bush.
George W. Bush.

Bush 43 finishes tenth because he's never confirmed that he smoked weed. But there's evidence to suggest he did in this excerpt from a 2005 BBC article:

Mr Bush has spoken frequently about a drink problem in his youth, which ended with an apparent religious awakening at the age of 40, but he has never admitted taking illegal drugs.

On the tape, however, the future president discusses his refusal to answer questions about whether he took marijuana.

"I wouldn't answer the marijuana question," he says.

"You know why? 'Cause I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."

He feared that any such admission might affect his standing if he won the presidency.

"You gotta understand, I want to be president, I want to lead," he tells Mr Wead.

"Do you want your little kid to say 'Hey daddy, President Bush tried marijuana, I think I will'?"

Number 9: Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg.
Michael Bloomberg.

The New York City mayor and current warrior in favor of gun control has a marijuana past that exists on a couple of levels, as is clear in this excerpt from his Wikipedia page.

Bloomberg supports the strict drug laws of New York City. He has stated that he smoked marijuana in the past, and was quoted in a 2001 interview as saying "You bet I did. I enjoyed it." This led to a reported $500,000 advertising campaign by NORML, featuring his image and the quote. Bloomberg stated in a 2002 interview that he regrets the remark and does not believe that marijuana should be decriminalized.

Continue to keep counting down our list of the top ten politicians who've smoked pot.   Number 8: Al Gore

The question surrounding Al Gore's marijuana use isn't so much "Did he?" as "How much did he?" The following is from a 2000 Guardian piece about a Gore biography that argues the onetime veep turned environmental activist was an "avid" pot smoker:

Previously, Mr Gore had said his cannabis consumption was "infrequent and rare." But Mr Turque's book also quotes another Gore friend, Andy Schlesinger -- like Mr Warnecke and the vice-president, a former reporter on the Nashville Tennessean -- as saying he smoked with him "at least a dozen times." This was in the months after Mr Gore returned from the Vietnam war in 1971.

Number 7: Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich.
Newt Gingrich.

As noted in this roundup, Gingrich initially treated his youthful experimentation with drugs as no big deal. He was quoted as saying, "That was a sign we were alive and in graduate school in that era." And earlier in his career, he advocated on behalf of medical marijuana, writing a letter to the Journal of the American Medical Association on the topic way back in 1982.

However, Gingrich subsequently became an ultra-hawk on all illegal drugs, which marijuana continues to be at the federal level. In 1995, for instance, he boosted his proposed introduction of a bill mandating the death penalty for convicted drug smugglers with the following statement: "If you import a commercial quantity of illegal is because you have made the personal decision that you are prepared to get rich by destroying our children. I have made the decision that I love our children enough that we will kill you if you do this."

Continue to keep counting down our list of the top ten politicians who've smoked pot.   Number 6: John Kerry

John Kerry.
John Kerry.

The newly minted Secretary of State was asked about whether he had smoked marijuana during a CNN debate when he was running for President in 2004.

He answered yes, as did fellow candidates Howard Dean and John Edwards. Kerry eventually bested both of them to win the 2004 Democratic Party nomination, only to be defeated in the general election by another alleged fellow weed enjoyer (see number 10).

Number 5: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold with a guy who probably didn't inhale...although he did work in Hollywood for a long time.
Arnold with a guy who probably didn't inhale...although he did work in Hollywood for a long time.

We know, we know -- Schwarzenegger isn't a politician anymore, having left the California governorship to return to making terrible movies. But we include him here because marijuana use, to which he has readily admitted (he's seen puffing a joint in the 1975 film Pumping Iron), was one of the least controversial skeletons in his closet. During the '70s, he said he'd attended orgies; more recently, he fessed up about fathering a child out of wedlock with his housekeeper, precipitating the collapse of his marriage to Maria Shriver.

If only people had stopped digging for dirt after the pot stories came out....

Continue to keep counting down our list of the top ten politicians who've smoked pot.   Number 4: Rand Paul

Rand Paul.
Rand Paul.

A senator from Kentucky and the son of Ron, Rand Paul is a rising star in the Republican Party who's often touted as a potential presidential candidate. He's also the star of this wacky anecdote featured in a 2010 GQ profile:

The strangest episode of Paul's time at Baylor occurred one afternoon in 1983 (although memories about all of these events are understandably a bit hazy, so the date might be slightly off), when he and a NoZe brother paid a visit to a female student who was one of Paul's teammates on the Baylor swim team. According to this woman, who requested anonymity because of her current job as a clinical psychologist, "He and Randy came to my house, they knocked on my door, and then they blindfolded me, tied me up, and put me in their car. They took me to their apartment and tried to force me to take bong hits. They'd been smoking pot." After the woman refused to smoke with them, Paul and his friend put her back in their car and drove to the countryside outside of Waco, where they stopped near a creek. "They told me their god was 'Aqua Buddha' and that I needed to bow down and worship him," the woman recalls. "They blindfolded me and made me bow down to 'Aqua Buddha' in the creek. I had to say, 'I worship you Aqua Buddha, I worship you.' At Baylor, there were people actively going around trying to save you and we had to go to chapel, so worshiping idols was a big no-no."

Number 3: Barack Obama

Barack Obama.
Barack Obama.

This time around, we'll quote, well, us, from last year's list of the most and least surprising celebrity stoners:

These days, the President of the United States downplays his pot past -- and under his administration, the Justice Department's eye has not been entirely blind when it comes to enforcing federal marijuana laws on businesses in states that have legalized MMJ (like this one). But in his 1995 book Dreams of My Father, he wrote, "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it." And in a 2005 comment to Northwestern University students that some will read with a certain irony, he reportedly said, "The War on Drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws."

Continue to keep counting down our list of the top ten politicians who've smoked pot.   Number 2: Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin.

Onetime Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin hasn't exactly quavered when folks have quizzed her about pot, as is clear in this excerpt from an AOL News article headlined, "Sarah Palin: Smoking Pot is No Big Deal:"

Has the former Republican vice presidential candidate ever lit up a joint?

You betcha. In Alaska, it was legal to smoke small amounts of marijuana until four years ago, and Palin has said that she's tried it but didn't like it.

"I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled," she told the Anchorage Daily News in 2006.

Number 1: Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton.

During the 1992 presidential race, supporters of President George H.W. Bush pummeled Clinton with character issues, suggesting that he'd dodged the draft to get out of Vietnam War service and had partaken in the demon weed. Clinton famously attempted to squash the latter rumors by saying that people during his youth may have thought he'd smoked marijuana, but he'd only pretended to do so and "didn't inhale."

Relive this hilariously misbegotten political tactic in the following clip:

More from our Lists & Weirdness archive: "Photos: Most and least surprising celebrity stoners."

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