Toronto mayor says had been drinking, but feels 'fantastic'

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 25, 2014 11:01 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said on Tuesday that he had recently consumed alcohol, but not excessively, as he tries to get clean after admitting last year that he smoked crack while drunk and drove after drinking.

Ford publicly pledged last year to stay away from drugs and alcohol and said at the time he had stopped drinking completely.

But last month a video of Ford ranting in a Jamaican accent and slurring his words at a suburban eatery was posted online. At the time, he called the episode a "minor setback.

In an interview with NBC on Tuesday, Ford conceded that he has used alcohol recently but said he has not abused it.

"Have I had a drink? Yes I have, but not to the point of some of the episodes before," the 44-year-old mayor said on the network's "Today" program, adding that things are "going fantastic."

"Maybe you're perfect, but I'm not," he told "Today" co-host Matt Lauer. "We're moving on in a positive direction."

Ford said he is still committed to putting the problems with alcohol and illegal drug use behind him, trading them in for daily workouts and door-to-door campaigning ahead of October's municipal elections.

"That's past me," said Ford, adding that he was "going to the gym every day, down a few pounds and just going door-to-door campaigning hard."

"I don't use illegal drugs. I experimented with them, like, probably a year ago, but I don't use drugs," he added.

Still, embarrassing episodes continue to vex the mayor.

Earlier this month, Canadian media reported Ford received a ticket for jaywalking in Vancouver.

Ford said he faces 34 challengers in the October 27 election and was "in great shape" to face them in the contest.

"Right after this interview, I'm dying to use the gym," he said.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Jonathan Oatis)