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Is Bernie Sanders really a pot-smoking socialist?

By Rebecca Kaplan

Updated on: June 2, 2015 / 11:04 AM / CBS News

At the 2015 White House Correspondents Dinner, President Obama mentioned Vermont independent senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, quipping, “Apparently some folks want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House.”

But according to an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, the characterization is only half true.

Sanders does, in fact, identify as a democratic socialist even though he’s a registered independent and running in the Democratic presidential primary. But he says he’s no pot head.

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Sanders told Couric he’s smoked marijuana twice, but it “didn’t quite work for me.”

“Because I coughed a lot, I don’t know,” he said.

That’s not to say he believes others shouldn’t enjoy it. In the interview, he backed decriminalization but stopped short of endorsing legalization.

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“I want to take a look at how that’s going before I make a final opinion,” he said, speculating it is probably not as harmful as alcohol.

Sanders also addressed a 1972 essay unearthed by Mother Jones in which he writes about a woman fantasizing about being raped by three men. In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press over the weekend, Sanders likened it to the Fifty Shades of Gray books.

“Of course I regret writing it,” he told Yahoo. “It was a terribly-written article, but very few members of Congress have the voting record that I do on behalf of women’s rights.”

In an appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” he joked, “I think I could make a good president, but I write fiction pretty poorly.”

As his campaign gathers steam and Sanders begins to crack double digits in national polls, he has an idea for a job for his main rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — whom he has steadfastly refused to criticize during his nascent campaign.

“Would she be interested in being my vice president?” he said.

First published on June 2, 2015 / 9:52 AM

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Vermont senator and presidential candidate responded to questions about his drug habits

Pot smoking socialist

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