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ONDCP Ads Condemned by GAO; Souder Responds by Setting World Record for Unintelligent Talking

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Our friends at SSDP report that the ONDCP has been slammed by the GAO again.

WASHINGTON, DC – The Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled on Friday that the White House’s $1.2 billion anti-drug ad campaign is not only ineffective, but encourages some teens to try drugs. The GAO, Congress’s auditing arm, recommended that funding for the ads be cut despite President Bush’s request for another $120 million to produce more ads next year.

ONDCP’s incompetence has become quite a chore for the folks at the GAO who are responsible for ensuring fiscal responsibility in government.

But hysterical drug warring congressman Mark Souder was quick to defend the program. Maybe a little too quick.

From the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette:

Souder said it’s always difficult to show a direct consequence of advertising. “It’s very difficult to tell whether Britney Spears bopping around on some Coca-Cola ad actually sold a single bottle of Coca-Cola,” Souder said. But “the groups that promote marijuana wouldn’t be criticizing it so much if they didn’t think it was effective.”

Unbelievable! For starters, I’d bet Coca-Cola could tell you down to the bottle how many cokes get sold each time Britney bops on their behalf. Unlike ONDCP, the cola industry scrupulously monitors its own effectiveness. If Souder wants to make asinine comparisons between the cola war and the drug war, he should do so on his own time.

But then he goes and tries to confuse us about who issued the report. It was from the GAO! Not an advocacy group. Finally, he concludes that the ads must work because people are saying they don’t, which assumes that reformers (or does he mean GAO?) are only interested in maximizing illegal drug use. Quite a mouthful, even from a notorious blow-hard like Souder.

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette accepts letters here.

And speaking of incompetence at ONDCP, Tom Angell just gave me this Senate Appropriations Committee report released last month (sorry, no link):

The Committee is extremely displeased with the performance of ONDCP staff regarding their communication with the Committee and their responsiveness to congressional inquiries. ONDCP's lethargy and the inadequate information provided severely impacts the ability of the Committee to conduct its oversight and make budgetary decisions in a timely manner. This kind of unresponsiveness on the part of ONDCP results in an unnecessary waste of time and energy; numerous follow up communications are required in almost every instance. The Committee is particularly concerned that ONDCP has attempted to prevent the Committee from meeting with the directors of ONDCP programs. Therefore the Committee has reduced the salaries and expenses budget to more closely reflect actual performance.

It’s a rogue agency! They answer to no one. But hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, apply for their internship program. Your job will be to make up excuses for why John Walters can’t come to the phone when Congress calls.

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tomangell's picture

I can't decide if the ads are laughable or sad

Thanks for blogging this story, Scott.

For anyone who wants to see some cool parody ads that Students for Sensible Drug Policy made, check out

Also, lookie here for a one-minute "biting" laugh-fest:

Students fight back against the government's Drug War attacks on youth:

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