Obama talks to David Simon about the war on drugs and his favorite character from ‘The Wire’

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Seven years after the final episode of “The Wire,” the gritty HBO series about inner city Baltimore cops and drug dealers still boasts a loyal cult following, counting President Obama among its many acolytes.

And because he is the president, Obama got to live every “Wire” fan’s dream and invite the show’s creator, former Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon, over to his house to discuss “one of the greatest, not just television shows, but pieces of art in the last couple of decades.”



In a TV news magazine-style sit-down at the White House, with Obama playing the role of interviewer, the two discussed the devastating impact of the drug war on urban communities, as depicted in the show: from street-level drug enforcement depleting resources to fight other crimes, to the generational cycle of crime and recidivism perpetuated by overincarceration.

“If it was this draconian and it worked, then maybe we could have a discussion that said, ‘It’s terrible and we’re losing a lot of humanity, but hey, it’s working.’ But it doesn’t work,” said Simon. “It’s draconian and it doesn’t work.”

Obama — who, alongside Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department, has taken administrative steps to eliminate some of what he called “counterproductive” drug war policies, such as abolishing mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent drug offenses — said, “We’re all responsible for at least finding a solution for this.”

He also said his favorite character from “The Wire” is Omar, obviously.

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