One Other Journalist Recalls Gore's Drug Use

One Other Journalist Recalls Gore's Drug Use
Posted by FoM on January 25, 2000 at 10:30:51 PT
By Laura Frank & Sheila Wissner, Staff Writers 
Source: The Tennessean
If Al Gore used marijuana routinely while a Tennessean reporter in the 1970s, it was not known to almost three dozen staff members who worked closely or socialized with him, they say. Only two of the 36 journalists who worked at the newspaper with Gore and were interviewed for this story said they had ever seen him smoke marijuana. Three others would not say what they did or did not see.
None, except former reporter John Warnecke, said he or she was pressured by Gore to give a false account of Gore's drug use.In 1987, Gore admitted using marijuana on "infrequent and rare occasions" while serving in the Army in Vietnam and later while living in Nashville, where he worked as a Tennessean reporter and editorial writer and attended classes at Vanderbilt University.The two Tennessean staffers who said they witnessed Gore using marijuana -- Warnecke and Ken Jost, another former reporter -- disagreed on the extent of Gore's drug use.Warnecke said Gore used marijuana "hundreds and hundreds of times" and quit only after announcing he would run for Congress in 1976.Jost said the Gore marijuana use he witnessed was much less frequent."In the times I was around him socially, he used it occasionally," said Jost, now a staff writer with the Congressional Quarterly. "Can I swear to the number of times? No. It was a long time ago. It was more than once. It certainly wasn't every time I saw him and not regularly."After leaving The Tennessean, Jost worked for Gore during his tenure in Congress and during his 1988 presidential campaign.The three staffers who would not say what they did or did not see are Tennessean editor Frank Sutherland; Andrew Schlesinger, a former reporter; and Nancy Rhoda, a Tennessean photo editor formerly married to Warnecke.Several current or former Tennessean staffers described Gore as a hard-working, intense and passionate reporter who, they believe, could not have kept up the pace if he were a routine drug user."He was very, very driven by the issues. Very serious," said Elaine Shannon, a Time magazine reporter who worked in the Tennessean's Washington bureau during Gore's tenure at the newspaper."I don't know when he would have had the time. You could tell he was going places and that he wanted to go places. He made no secret about that."Former Tennessean staffers also said it was unlikely that Gore could have kept regular drug use a secret from his newshound peers."There were some people who did have that reputation, and Al was not one of them," said John Haile, who worked with Gore as a reporter and is now editor of the Orlando Sentinel.Other current and former staff members who say they never saw Gore use marijuana and were never pressured to give a false account include:John Seigenthaler, Tennessean editor during Gore's tenure, now chairman emeritus of the newspaper; Lloyd Armour, then executive editor in charge of the opinion page, now retired; Philip Sullivan, then an editorial writer, now retired; Gene Wyatt, then associate editor, now retired but writes film reviews for the paper; Wayne Whitt, former managing editor, now retired.Jim Squires, then a city editor, now retired; Frank Ritter, then a reporter and city editor, now a columnist; James Carnahan, then state editor, now retired; Charles Fontenay, then rewrite editor, now retired.Larry Daughtrey, then a political reporter, now a columnist; Jim O'Hara, a former editorial writer and reporter, who recently left a position as deputy assistant U.S. secretary of health; Doug Hall, then a reporter, now CEO of Earth Satellite Corp. in Rockville, Md.; Tom Ingram, then a reporter, now president of the Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership; Marsha Vande Berg, then a reporter, now an independent journalist and consultant in San Francisco; Alan Carmichael, then a reporter, now retired; Bill Preston, then a reporter, now an administrative specialist with the Tennessee state attorney general; Candy McCampbell, then a reporter and copy editor, now personal finance editor.Frank Gibson, then a reporter, now political editor; George Zepp, then a reporter, now a night regional editor; Gloria Ballard, then a reporter, now assistant features editor; Sandra Roberts, then a part-time librarian, now managing editor/opinion; Kirk Loggins, a reporter then and now; Dwight Lewis, then a reporter, now a columnist and weekend editor; Keel Hunt, then a reporter, now spokesman for Ingram Book Group.Jack Hurst, then a Music Row reporter, now retired; Sandy Campbell, an editorial cartoonist then and now; Tom Squires, then a sports reporter, now editor and publisher of Sports Specialty Publications; Larry Woody, a sports reporter then and now; Jimmy Davy, then a sports reporter, now retired. Published: January 25, 2000 Copyright 2000 The TennesseanRelated Articles:Reports of Gore Pot Use Raise Complex Questions - 1/25/2000 Past Marijuana Use Infrequent and Rare - 1/24/2000 Denies Marijuana Charge - 1/24/2000 In His Eyes - 1/22/2000 Pot Tale Gives Mag Cold Feet - 1/22/2000 Gore Go One Toke Over the Line at Law School?-1/21/2000 Dishonest Policy - 1/21/99 Bio Alleges Gore Used Marijuana For Years - 1/20/2000 
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