While talking with some high school students in Manchester, NH, Barack Obama admitted he made some “bad decisions” as a student and used drugs and alcohol.

Obama referred to his earlier writings on the subject, in which he called himself a “junkie” and “pothead.” In the book, Dreams from My Father, Obama says he mostly smoked pot, but also used cocaine when he could afford it.

Curiously absent from Obama’s conversation was any hint from him that there was a lesson students should take from his past behavior. Apparently, there was also no advice from this presidential candidate that students should avoid drinking or using drugs,  or perhaps seek help if they are.

I am the last to preach — and I don’t. But if a presidential candidate, within the context of a conversation with students about drugs and alcohol, cannot suggest that students either stay clean or get help, I begin to wonder about Obama’s moral leadership.

From what we know of him, he appears to be a marvelous example of a young black man who escaped from the worst effects of our drug culture. Is it enough that he simply let himself be a silent role model? I honestly don’t think so.

Kids twist information into the meaning they want it to have. With drugs and booze so prevalent in our schools, I have no doubt that whether spoken or left unsaid, the message many got is that it is “cool” to use: “Look, Obama used drugs and now he’s running for president. No biggie! Where’s my bong, dude?”

Read about Obama’s visit to Manchester Central High School.