September 10, 1987
Imagine if Richard Nixon had appeared on nationwide television in late 1974 to say that he had messed up during the Watergate scandal but still wanted to play an important role in public life. Calling himself a "patriot," saying that it was sinful to hide out at San Clemente, Mr. Nixon would have pledged to address one of the most important issues of the times - the excesses of the post-Watergate morality. He would have been laughed back into oblivion. Yet Gary Hart, just four months after his political career was destroyed by a scandal of a different kind and dimension, is ready to return to the hustings.
September 15, 1987 |
Never has an act of "contrition" received as much advance publicity as Gary Hart's proclaimed act of repentance on "Nightline. " ABC plugged it as if it were the network's first offering of the new fall television season. There was "Father" Ted Koppel hearing the public confession of the fallen parishioner. It was more than a little much. The sad truth is that Hart still does not seem to understand the issue. He apologized to supporters for letting them down. That's just good politics.
July 22, 1988 |
Even from behind, the tall figure was easy to recognize. Shoulders scrunched up, thick, graying hair neatly blow-dried, suit elegantly cut. Gary Hart was walking alone through a hotel corridor toward a bar and restaurant. There was nothing remarkable about his being there. Except the fact that at that very moment, only a few blocks away, the Democratic convention was beginning. Most of the big Democrats were in the convention hall. But Gary Hart was walking into the almost-deserted barroom and joining a few acquaintances in a booth.
May 28, 1987 |
Another arrow hit Gary Hart when his publisher announced Tuesday that it had scuttled plans to publish his autobiography, One Man's Luck. A spokeswoman for publisher William Morrow & Co. said yesterday that Luck was supposed to be a "get-to-know-the-candidate book and both Gary and us agreed that it no longer made any sense" to do it now that he has quit the presidential race. The spokeswoman said that Hart had gotten "a very, very small advance" about a year ago and that the publisher, as is the custom in such cancellations, probably would ask for the money back.
December 21, 1987 |
In 1960, John F. Kennedy had a historic point to prove: that a Roman Catholic could be elected president of the United States. He proved it, and in so doing, he dismissed the anti-Catholic prohibition from national political life for good. In 1976, Jimmy Carter had nearly as important a point to prove. It was that a virtually unknown peanut farmer from rural Georgia could burst upon the national scene, capture the nomination of the Democratic Party and be elected president. He proved that early name recognition is not all it's cracked up to be. At the onset of Campaign '88, Hart has announced the most improbable challenge of recent presidential history.
August 7, 1987 |
Political consultant Mel Nasielski slipped $15,000 in traveler's checks into a scuffed brown briefcase on Wednesday and boarded a plane for San Francisco. His mission: to bring home a computerized list of donors to the 1984 campaign of former presidential candidate Gary Hart. Today, Nasielski will do just that - after forking out a mere $6,500 for a campaign tool that may reap thousands of dollars in profits for his direct mail firm. Nasielski, 32, executive vice president of Allan and Nasielski in West Conshohocken, claimed his prize yesterday at an auction hosted by U.S. marshals in San Francisco.
January 16, 1988 |
Appearing in debate with his Democratic rivals for the first time here last night, presidential candidate Gary Hart called himself "a sinner" and pledged that his public ethics would be beyond reproach if elected to the White House. Hart was not attacked by his opponents during the debate, which was surprisingly bland and amiable all around, considering that the first-in-the- nation Iowa caucuses were only 24 days away. It was an evening characterized by respectful questioning, gentle ribbing and inside jokes among candidates who have grown ever-more familiar with one another.
May 11, 1987 |
I don't know why Gary Hart has become so huffy with the press. The fact is, until he made a fool of himself by chasing around with a young ex-beauty queen, the press had been rather kind. It's been known for a long time that he is a compulsive skirt-chaser, but nobody really said anything about it. The attitude was if he wanted to mess around, that was his business. And it would still be his business if he hadn't been so careless or arrogant or self-destructive as to make it the public's business.
September 14, 1987 |
Gary Hart emerged from four months of seclusion to tell the nation that he wants to start a "constructive debate" about the private lives of public figures. With his declaration of non-candidacy, that debate may well be the principal legacy of Gary Hart's public life. So let's try a few propositions - sorry about that turn of phrase, senator - on for size. Is the press eager to pry behind the closed doors of the rich and famous? Absolutely. One of the inevitable consequences of being well-known is that people want to know more, even when it is none of their business.
December 18, 1987 |
Seven years ago in Washington, a bunch of us, three reporters, a politician, an actor and two of our wives, began talking about an old movie called Sullivan's Travels. I was working on a book, traveling across the country interviewing people, and the actor said it reminded him of the film. He described Sullivan's Travels, which was made in 1942. Joel McCrea played a famous director of comedies who tried to rise above the unsatisfying tinsel of Hollywood by going across America disguised as a bum. The idea was that no one would know him; he would learn about "the people," and then tell their story - make a great film, not a comedy, about the great issues of life and death, wealth and poverty.