Bush Defends Luring Drug Suspect
Sen. Breaux Criticizes 'Theatrics' in use of Cocaine as Prop

by, David Hoffman

Washington Post Staff Writer

Kennebunkport, Maine, Sept. 22-President Bush today defended the decision by drug agents to lure a drug suspect into Lafayette Park for an undercover purchase of crack cocaine that Bush used in his nationally televised address as an example of the ready availability of drugs.

In an exchange with reporters at a tree farm near here, Bush said the drug purchase was legitimate, even if Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents had to lure the suspect to the location, near the White House, that had been chosen by Bush's speechwriters. White House officials have said they asked the DEA to provide the drugs but did not order the agency to make a drug bust specifically for Bush's speech. The alleged drug seller has not been arrested.

"I think it was great because it sent a message to the United States that even across from the White House they can sell drugs," Bush said. "Every time that some guy gets caught selling drugs, he pleads that somebody is luring someplace."

Sen. John Breaux (D-La..) criticized the president's use of the prop as "staged."

"Is this really a drug war or is this theatrics and screenplay?" the Senator asked. "We don't need the president to lure drug pushers to Lafayette Park for photo opportunities."

Bush commented at a photo opportunity to illustrate the benefits of a capital gains tax cut for tree farmers. As the sun set, Bush played nine holes of golf at Cape Arundel Golf Course here and then went fishing in the Kennebunk River in the dark.

Bush photo, September 9,1989 Washington Post

1997 Inaugural | Park Closures | Pennsylvania Ave. Closure
Peace Park | Proposition One
Legal Overview | Regulations