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GOP moralist Bennett gives up gambling

'I have gambled large sums of money'

William Bennett
William Bennett

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William Bennett, who wrote the best-selling Book of Virtues, has admitted high-stakes gambling. CNN's Bob Franken reports (May 5)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Stung by recent news reports, conservative standard-bearer William Bennett said Monday he has "done too much gambling" over the years and vowed that his "gambling days are over."

Newsweek, The Washington Monthly and The New York Times have reported in recent days that Bennett -- the author of "The Book of Virtues" and other books touting the moral high-ground -- lost millions in Las Vegas and Atlantic City over the last decade.

In his statement Monday, Bennett did not disclose how much he has won or lost gambling.

"A number of stories in the media have reported that I have engaged in high stakes gambling over the past decade. It is true that I have gambled large sums of money. I have also complied with all laws on reporting wins and losses," he said.

"Nevertheless, I have done too much gambling, and this is not an example I wish to set. Therefore, my gambling days are over."

Bennett served as education secretary and drug czar under Republican presidents. More recently, he has enjoyed a successful career on the lecture circuit, where he rails against society's ills. He has not, however, cited gambling as a vice in his lectures or in his book.

Monday's USA Today quoted Bennett's wife as saying her husband is not addicted to gambling.

"We are financially solvent," Elayne Bennett told the newspaper. "All our bills are paid."

She added that his gambling days are over. "He's never going again," she said.

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