Rob Ford says yes he smoked crack and no he’s not quitting as mayor

“Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine.” That admission on Tuesday by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had city leaders calling for his ouster. But the controversial city official is not quitting.

Ford, red-faced and appearing deeply emotional, held a news conference a few hours after his startling impromptu announcement on his previous drug use.

PHOTOS: Political figures, personal indiscretion


Here’s what he said:

“With today’s announcement, I know I embarrassed everyone in this city, and I will be forever sorry. There is only one person to blame for this, and that is myself.

“I know that admitting my mistake was the right thing to do, and I feel like a thousand pounds have been lifted off my shoulders. I can’t explain how difficult this was to do. I hope, I hope, I hope that nobody but nobody has to go through what I have gone through.

“I know what I did was wrong, and admitting it was the most difficult and embarrassing thing I’ve ever had to do. Folks, I have nothing left to hide. I would do anything, absolutely anything to change the past. But the past is the past, and we must move forward.

“I want to be clear, I want to be crystal clear to every single person. These mistakes will never, ever, ever happen again. I kept this from my family, especially my brother Doug, my staff, my council colleagues because I was embarrassed and ashamed.

“To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down, and I can’t do anything else but apologize and apologize, and I’m so sorry [shaking his head]. I know, I know I have to regain your trust and your confidence. I love my job. I love my job. I love this city. I love saving taxpayers money, and I love being your mayor.

“There is important work that we must advance and important decisions that must be made. For the sake of the taxpayers of this great city, for the sake of the taxpayers, we must get back to work immediately. We must keep Toronto moving forward [wipes his mouth].

“I was elected to do a job, and that’s exactly what I’m going to continue doing. In 2010 I made a commitment to Toronto voters. I have delivered on that commitment, and I will continue to deliver on that commitment of saving taxpayers money.

But they have a choice. We live in a democracy. And on Oct. 27 of 2014, I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor.

“Again, I sincerely, sincerely, sincerely apologize. God bless the people of Toronto. Thank you very much.”

Ford declined to answer any questions and left the news conference following his speech. More to come on this controversy from the Los Angeles Times’ @caroljwilliams.


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