Right here, Gary Hart’s presidential campaign ended with a bang.
Well, that was the assumption of what went on behind these walls in the spring of 1987, just weeks after Hart had officially announced he was running for the top job.
Hart’s reputation for womanizing preceded his run. So reporters from the Miami Herald who’d staked out his Capital Hill townhouse specifically looking for stray women didn’t have to wait long to find what they were looking for. A young’n known not to be Mrs. Hart was spotted entering the residence, with Mrs. Hart known not to be home, on the evening of May 2 and not leaving until after the sun was warm.
Hart’s campaign unraveled quickly and hilariously. He had just given an interview to the New York Times in which he insinuated there’d never be a reason to tag him with a Scarlet A.
“Follow me around,” Hart said. “I don’t care. I’m serious. If anybody wants to put a tail on me, go ahead. They’ll be very bored.”
The interview hit the streets about the time the woman who’d presumably just put some tail on him, later identified as 29-year-old Donna Rice, was caught by Herald reporters doing the walk of shame from Hart’s townhouse.
Within days, the same paper published photos of Hart and Rice getting cuddly on a boat called Monkey Business, and Hart getting a lapful of Rice while wearing a “Monkey Business” t-shirt. Hart went from Democratic Party frontrunner to dropout within a week.
Rice went on to become a religious activist, specializing in keeping sexual predators from picking on youngsters. (Wonder where that came from?)
The Dems didn’t see a viable candidate who could match Hart in terms of smoothness and lady’s manliness until, well, John Edwards. (How’d that work out?)
In any case: Nice house!