Hart, Gary W.

1979 TLS of the Colorado US Senator and Democratic Party rising star before his presidential ambitions were sunk on “Risky Business”

Price: $25.00

Description:
(b. 1936) Colorado US Senator 1975-87 (D), 1988 Democratic Party presidential nomination front-runner until dropping out over allegations of an extramarital affair. He practiced law in Denver then managed Sen. George McGovern’s 1972 Democratic presidential nomination campaign and his unsuccessful campaign against President Nixon, one of the most lopsided elections in US history. Hart defeated GOP Senator Peter Dominick in Colorado's 1974 Senate election, immediately labeled a rising star. He served on the post-Watergate Church Committee which investigated abuses by the CIA, NSA, FBI, and IRS, and led the Senate investigation of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident. Hart sought the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination narrowly losing to former VP Walter Mondale. While given serious consideration, Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. Hart refused PAC money and mortgaged his house to self-finance his campaign; he was $1M+ in debt at the end of the campaign. Declining to seek Senate re-election in 1986, he sought the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, widely seen as the front-runner until reports surfaced of an extramarital affair. On Dec. 20, 1986, he was allegedly followed by an anonymous private investigator from a radio station where he had given the Democratic response to President Reagan's weekly radio address. The investigator reported that Hart had been to a woman's house, photographed there, and left the next morning. After Mario Cuomo announced in Feb. 1987 he would not run, Hart was the clear frontrunner and officially declared his candidacy on April 13, 1987. In March 1987, the yacht “Risky Business” was rented by a lawyer-lobbyist, who, with Hart, sailed it to Bimini for an overnight trip with 2 women, one of whom was Donna Rice. In late April, The Miami Herald said an anonymous informer told them that Hart was having an affair, provided details, and told the paper that he was going to meet this person May 1 at his DC townhouse. Herald reporters followed Rice to Washington, staked out Hart's townhouse, and saw her and Hart together. Hart denied a relationship, claiming he was set up. The Herald published a story on May 3 and that day, in the New York Times, Hart said: "Follow me around. I don't care. I'm serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They'll be very bored." When the articles appeared the same day a firestorm ignited. On Sunday, Hart's campaign denied a scandal, condemning the reporters for intrusive reporting. On Monday, Rice denied a sexual affair with Hart who insisted she was working as a campaign aide. The affair dominated campaign coverage, but a Gallup Poll found 55% of Democrats believed Hart, 44% were unconcerned about the issue. In a poll of all voters, 53% said marital infidelity had little to do with a president's ability to govern. On May 8, 1987, Hart withdrew after the “Monkey Business” cruise became known. A few weeks later, a picture appeared in hundreds of newspapers worldwide showing Rice sitting in Hart’s lap with Hart in a Monkey Business T-shirt. The unprecedented investigation and reporting on Hart's personal life was widely covered; the New York Times said the situation "will certainly provoke a needed debate on his contention that the system has gone out of control." Hart went to Ireland to spend time away from the media. In December, he returned to the race and rose to the top of national polls, but soon saw more negative stories his 1984 campaign debts. He again withdrew after the March 8 Super Tuesday contests, returning to private practice. He co-chaired the Hart-Rudman Task Force on Homeland Security, served on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, and was US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. He earned an Oxford doctorate in politics, and has written several books. In late 2002, he considered another run but endorsed John Kerry. He is portrayed by Hugh Jackman in the 2018 film “The Front Runner”, which focuses on the 1987 scandals. TLS “Gary” on his 10 1/2 x 8 US Senate letterhead, Washington, March 22 1979, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, US Army War College. Senator Hart is pleased that Smith has returned for a 2nd tour at the Army War College and is honored to be asked to participate in the 25th Annual National Security Seminar in June. However, as the Senate will be in session, he will not be able to join him but appreciated being thought of and hopes to get together in the near future. With note in Hart’s hand, “please keep in touch". Pen docketing at top left, incl. one initialed by General Smith. DeWITT C. SMITH, JR. (1920-1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the US Army and commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. He was wounded 3 times and awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, he returned to active duty for the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, served in the "Old Guard" at Fort Myer, and was a battalion executive officer and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He commanded a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.

Condition: Very good
Type:Letter






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