But he refused to bow to conservative pressure on him to criticise homosexuals.
"I'm not going to kick gays because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?" he claimed on the tape to have told James Robison, an evangelical minister in Texas.
seems like he changed his mind on the gay-bashing issue, since he eventually "came out" in favor of a gay-marriage ban.
but the really juicy material is all the drug-related stuff:
"You know why? 'Cause I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."
He feared that any such admission might affect his standing if he won the presidency.
"You gotta understand, I want to be president, I want to lead," he tells Mr Wead.
"Do you want your little kid to say 'Hey daddy, President Bush tried marijuana, I think I will'?"
In response to a remark by Mr Wead that the future president had publicly denied using cocaine, he said, quoted by the New York Times: "I haven't denied anything."
He said that he would continue to refuse to comment on allegations of drug use.
"I am just not going to answer those questions," he said. "And it might cost me the election."
In the tapes, Mr Bush mocks Al Gore, his opponent in the 2000 elections, for admitting to smoking cannabis, and also dismisses him as a liar.
so gore is a liar because he actually admitted his past drug use, while bush is not because he obfuscated? okay then.
but there's more to the tape than marijuana:
so is that a tacit admission that he also did coke and acid? sounds like it to me, though some media outlets are only focusing on the pot.
if you hear a loud chorus of clicking, it's probably thousands of bush apolo-bloggers and PR pros trying their damnedest to dismiss and discredit the story... or at least attack the messenger. but the former bush friend and taper doesn't think he's being opportunist:
Wead said he made the tapes as a historical record. He denied that he released them to make money or sell books.
"This book could have been released before the election, driven by partisan sales," Wead said. "The publisher wanted it. I wouldn't let it, and my publicist told me at the time, `That cost you a million dollars.'"
why would a biographer voluntarily give up "a million dollars" worth of free publicity & book sales?