Former Clinton Advisor Dick Morris Says Bush's Fate In Own Hands

By Christine Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:26 PM EDT

( - Former Clinton Advisor Dick Morris thinks George W. Bush's political fate is in his own hands following a revelation late Thursday that the Republican presidential candidate was arrested in Maine on a DUI charge in 1976.

"It all depends on how he handles it," Morris wrote in today's New York Post.

According to Morris, he took a survey on DWI five years ago, and respondents ranked it as the number one issue of concern among the 50 issues on which they were polled. Women were especially concerned about the drunk driving issue, according to Morris.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving issued a statement today on Bush's DUI, saying, "We recognize that people can change."

"As Governor Bush's arrest happened nearly 25 years ago, we hope that the experience had an impact on his life and helped him to realize the devastation that can result from getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol," said MADD president Millie Webb. "We appreciate Governor Bush's support of anti-drunk driving legislation in Texas," she added.

Morris credits Bush for not using his father's influence to avoid prosecution and says the political fallout will be mitigated by the fact that Bush didn't injure anyone in the incident and has since quit drinking.

On the other hand, Bush will be hurt if he ever lied about the arrest, Morris predicts. "If he lied about this unattractive episode in his life on any official form, his candidacy may be cooked," said Morris, who pointed to bank loan applications or security clearance forms as potential examples.

Morris also said Democrats have some potential liability in this story, too.

"I smell a dirty trick," wrote Morris. "Did Gore's campaign unearth this fact? Did they hold onto it until five days before the election deliberately?," he wondered.