Bill Clinton: I never denied smoking marijuana

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Bill Clinton (AP/Steve Helber, File)

More than 20 years after saying he "didn't inhale," Bill Clinton is setting the record straight about his youthful pot smoking.

“I didn’t say I was holier than thou, I said I tried. I never denied that I used marijuana," Clinton told Fusion TV's Jorge Ramos in an interview aired Tuesday night.

Back in 1992, in the midst of his first presidential campaign, Clinton famously equivocated when asked about his drug use, saying that during his days as a Rhodes Scholar in England, "I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it, and didn’t inhale, and never tried it again."

The quote has been lampooned for decades and widely seen as an attempt by Clinton to avoid political damage by denying that he had actually smoked pot, since it supposedly never entered his lungs.

Ramos asked Clinton if he would answer the question differently today, given changing attitudes about marijuana that have allowed Barack Obama, for example, to talk openly about his teen drug use without suffering politically.

"Like many things in the press, that whole thing has been totally twisted," Clinton said, insisting that he never meant to give the impression that he hadn’t tried pot.

"I told the truth," Clinton told Ramos. "I thought it was funny."

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