Toni Preckwinkle, an Obama ally and mentor and Cook County, Illinois Board President, said on Tuesday President Ronald Reagan deserved a “special place in hell” for “making drug use political.”
"What? You didn't like that?" Preckwinkle said after members of the audience gasped, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Preckwinkle was discussing drug policy and how she felt drug treatment should not be a part of the criminal justice system. She was defending the decision by Chicago city officials to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. And her comments were in reference to Reagan’s “war on drugs,” which President Richard Nixon started. During Reagan’s tenure, First Lady Nancy Reagan started the “Just Say No” campaign against drugs.
Preckwinkle made those comments in downstate Illinois. Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois.
Preckwinkle helped Obama challenge the signatures of his primary opponents to run unopposed in his 1996 state senate race. Obama often reminisces about this race as a heroic, Rudy-esque foray into politics in which he overcame all odds to win.