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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is on the ropes but still punching, as Toronto's City Hall reels from blow after blow.
It started when reporters from The Toronto Star and an editor from the website Gawker said they were approached by men trying to sell a video purportedly showing the mayor smoking crack with drug dealers.
"He was rambling and he seemed to be high. I mean there is just no other way to describe it other than to say the mayor was high," said Toronto Star investigative reporter Kevin Donovan, one of the few who have seen the video.
But The Star journalists did not buy the video, which is allegedly still being offered for around $200,000.
The mayor, meanwhile, is on the attack.
"There has been a serious accusation from The Toronto Star that I used crack cocaine. I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for the video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist," Ford said last week at a press conference.
Since the scandal broke, the mayor has fired his chief of staff and two top press aides quit after he went on the radio and called the media "a bunch of maggots."
Ford later apologized.
"I'm sure you understand this has been a very stressful week for myself," Ford said. "But that doesn't justify using the terminology I did."
The Star now reports police are looking into possibilities that someone else from the mayor's office tried to hunt down that video.
Toronto Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday at first said the video did not exist. Now he seems to be telling The Star a different story.
"I think if we can just get the video, then we can analyze the video, and see if it's doctored or real, and that would clear up a lot of things," Holyday said.
Ford has been in trouble before, accused of conflicts of interests. But he has remained popular with voters who like his policies and common man approach.
In Washington, D.C., that formula led Mayor Marion Barry back to power after he was caught on tape with drugs.
Amid the uproar, Ford tweeted a picture of his birthday cake with the message "Thanks for all the support," then passed out pieces to reporters.
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The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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