Wikileaks: In 2008, CNN’s Paul Begala Measured Public Response to Barack Obama’s Cocaine Use


Democratic political consultant Paul Begala changed the wording of a January 2008 poll to measure the public’s response to the cocaine use admitted by Sen. Barrack Obama, who was then trying to win the Democrats’ 2008 nomination.

Begala, who is now a CNN commentator, also changed the survey to gauge the reaction to Obama’s Muslim heritage and estimated patriotism.

According to an attachment in a hacked email released by Wikileaks (Podesta email 12022), Begala modified one question from,”His voting record is to the left of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry,” and replaced it with the phrase “He supports gay adoption, and described his former use of cocaine as using “a little blow.'” Begala also changed another question asking respondents to rate the accuracy of statements about Obama from, “Not up for the job” to “too liberal.”

The email was shared with several longtime Clinton allies, including Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta, and Kristi Fuksa of the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner polling company,

Begala claimed Oct. 14 that he had no role in Clinton’s 2008 campaign and that the poll was for a Democrat Super PAC.

But the Washington Post story on the survey tied Begala and Podesta to the Clinton campaign by saying the survey “was sent to Podesta and others close to the Clinton campaign, including Paul Begala and Tara McGuinness.” Begala also claims similar polling was done to measure  potential negatives faced by Hillary Clinton, although nothing has been produced to substantiate that claim.

The email also shows Begala modifying polling on 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain by making a correction about his age and adding another potential attack to those surveyed. It reads, “In the last election he called the so-called Swift Boat group, ‘dishonest and dishonorable,’ but now he’s taken over $60,000 from them.”

Dustin Stockton is a political reporter for Breitbart News, a community liaison for Gun Owners of America, and a political strategist. Follow him on Twitter @DustinStockton or  Facebook.