From Michiko Kakutani's review in today's New York Times of David Maraniss's new book, Barack Obama—The Story:
what is new is largely a matter of emphasis and detail. For instance, while Mr. Obama candidly acknowledged indulging in pot and booze and "maybe a little blow" in his memoir, this biography underscores just what an enthusiastic marijuana smoker he was as a teenager. According to Mr. Maraniss he belonged to a group of boys at the elite Punahou School in Honolulu who called themselves the Choom Gang ("Choom is a verb," the author writes, "meaning 'to smoke marijuana' ") and thanked his pot dealer in his high school yearbook.
What's striking to me about this line is how the Times reviewer describes what seems like studied obfuscation — "maybe a little blow" [emphasis added] — as candor. The "candidly" would be justified if the "maybe" had been omitted. Or maybe Mr. Obama was just so stoned during this entire period he can't remember with certainty or candor what he did or did not do. I do not hold it against him. Plenty of former substance abusers who are now sober straight-arrows, and, if anything, he may deserve some extra credit for turning his life around. But praising his candor seems a bit much.