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Vice President Gore denied Monday that he had smoked marijuana regularly, even daily, with a Tennessee friend as late as 1976 as the man now contends.

At a diner, a reporter said to Gore: "It's been reported that after you came back from Vietnam, you were smoking on a daily basis."

Gore responded, "No. When I came back from Vietnam, yes, but not to that extent. . . . This is something I dealt with a long time ago. It's old news."

During the 1988 presidential campaign, Gore said he had used marijuana on rare occasions, the last time about 1972.

The online magazine Salon quoted John Warnecke, the Tennessee man, as saying he had covered up for Gore but now wanted to set the record straight. He said he still plans to vote for Gore.

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