tv Gary Hart News Conference CSPAN April 30, 2016 10:47am-11:28am EDT
this land is my land from california to new york island from redwood forest to the gulf stream waters this land was made for you and me ♪ >> road to the white house rewind continues with more from the 1988 campaign from gary hart. just weeks after entering the presidential race, the former colorado senator faced allegations of an extramarital affair. next, he addresses the night news and conference. this picks it up just after the news conference gets underway. this is about 40 minutes. sen. hart: i have made clear, i think everyone, i have nothing to hide. i made a serious mistake. i regret those very much, not just for myself, but for all those involved. the individuals who have been -- my own family, first of all.
and for my supporters. we still believe, and i would be willing to go into these at any length you wish,hat the very fundamental facts of the event are still not clearly known. they have been mentioned to me by he supporters and spokespersons on my the half, but they were not aware of. those words, including this in the events in question saturday, reporters did not confront me. i confronted them. there was a report that i was, i think in their words, walking aimlessly about the neighborhood. what i was doing was finding them. when i found them, i confronted them, and it was only then that they identify themselves. i knew they were out there, and that someone was surveilling me and my home for quite some time.
answer questions of those reporters on the spot, 25 minutes or 30, which obviously i did not need to do. i had nothing to hide. the allegations they made, i flatly and joseph early -- v ociferously refuted. and i wanted to make it clear there was no avoidance of questioning, even at that time. third, i think of two other things i would like to mention. the group involved in these reports came and went to my house in broad daylight at least twice on saturday afternoon and apparently were not observed by the press organization in question. why that is, i don't know. they will have to account for it. ,he fact of the matter is except for leaving the house through the carport one or two
times, entry to and from except for leaving the house in broad daylight by three or four people went on on saturday when i was supposed to have been in the house only with one other person. finally, as i hope most of you know, we requested a meeting with reporters. mr. broadhurst particularly did, at his home in the company of his guests, to the reporters involved. he tracked them down. he found them. it took some doing. call their headquarters. he came back to my house and asked where they can be found and found them. he offered is that they would not publish of the story on so he went to the facts, he would talk to them at whatever length they wanted to make sure they were not under misapprehension. and make his comments available to them. for whatever reason of their own, they chose not to do that.
finally, let me say a word about my wife, leigh. she has been under more stress because of these events in the last few days than i have. she continues to astonish me with her strength and her courage. this is needless to say -- not a pleasant thing for anyone, not for me, not for our children, but particularly not for her. she has said that we've been married for 28 years. i hope we are married 28 more, if it works out, and i think it will. over that 20 years, i have to tell you, the people i have met in the world, friends that i have made, this is the most extraordinary human being i've had the pleasure of knowing, not simply as a wife but as a human being. she is here today and will be with us on the campaign trail. >> senator, you told us a couple weeks ago in new hampshire you didn't feel the american people have interest in your personal
life. do you still maintain that is true or do you believe that whatever it is has raised questions about your judgment. sen. hart: there are two separate questions, and i think the answer to both is yes. clearly, they had more interest than i thought they would. second, the issue is that i made a mistake. and the issue is judgment. i would like to talk about judgment, if i may. because it's not a simple term. people who seek national office or leadership are called to make judgments in their personal lives, and their ethical and moral lives, in their family lives. but also decisions affecting millions if not hundreds of millions of people. perhaps everyone on the planet. judgments include decisions about send people to cemeteries. judgments, in my case, involved
years in the senate, including, as i mentioned, oppositions to popular tax cuts. opposing the mx missile which was popular in my state. standing up against reaganomics when it was a popular economic policy in this nation. we make judgments all our lives. i think if you're going to judge , analyzing or evaluating a person's character or ability to lead, then in all fairness, you have to evaluate their entire record, the entire history of their public and private lives. and take into account those hard political and other judgments that have to be made. i have said, i will say again, i made a mistake. i underestimated the way in which the appearance of something was wrong here could be raised. it was something i should not
have done. >> on a couple of occasions here, you were reported to be not adequately diligent, and yet they have said several times the street,hat on they asked you repeatedly for an opportunity to speak with the woman, and you would not let them do that. could you tell us what happened on the street? sen. hart: i did not think it was fair. they asked me a bunch of questions about the comings and goings and so on. they alleged that she had stayed at my house, and i said that was absolutely not true. where did she stay -- and i answered all those questions. "can we talk to her?" at that point, i had to make a judgment. i judge that i would not identified the people. they asked where is she now. i said maybe she is at my house. who is she with? i said with friends. they were very suspicious. they did not believe any friends were there.
in fact i did not know if they , were still there or not. it was my judgment that i was not entitled to jeopardize them without their permission. i did not identify her or her friend or her employers. subsequently, after i talked to them, they chose to identify themselves. it is not within marketability to bring someone else into it. >> senator hart? in talking to a number of leading democratic politicians yesterday about this, i was struck by the fact that the majority of the ones i talked to did not believe your story. the reason they said they did of believe your story is all them have either heard rumors are claimed to know of previous incidents during the past 15 years. have there been times during the past 15 years, other than the
period when you are separated from your wife, that you have spent time with women in a manner you did with miss rice? sen. hart: the answer to the question is no. my wife said this morning, and i understand, and accurately so, in the latter part of the 20th century, she has friends who are men and i have friends that are women. most of them are friends of both of ours. she has gone to dinner with men friends, and i had gone to dinner with women friends. in almost every case, they were people my wife knew and we had been longtime personal acquaintances. i've had dinner on the road with reporters of both genders. they have always been in the public. someone remind me earlier today on a recent campaign trip, a number of us after a hard day on the campaign trail, including staff, myself and journalists
ended up having dinner and a cocktail dinner. and ended up dancing. now, a news organization taking a picture of me of the dance floor with a woman, they made a big deal out of that when there was nothing there. the answer is no. >> why is it do you think that so many people, people who have known you and dealt with you, some supporters, some not, why is it so many of these people have this impression of you? sen. hart: i have no way of knowing what the number is. part of it goes with being in the public life. i think a lot of people, depending on age and circumstance, or more suspect of this behavior than others. it's not just politics. it is people in business, entertainment. even some of you. it is just the more visible you come, the more you are subjected to that kind of scrutiny and speculation, often innuendo and gossip. it goes with the territory. my mistake was underestimating that.
let me put it the other way around. if i intended a relationship with this woman, believe me, i have written spy novels -- i am not stupid. if i were to bring someone into , house or apartment particularly a woman, i would not have done it this way. even the back entrance to our house -- i always use the carport entrance. it is visible from the street. if somebody came in on saturday, there was clearly no intention to hide. it was clear the place is surrounded by somebody. it was a mistake. i cannot account for everyone's analysis. i think, frankly, part of it may
have been our separation and the fact that i did go out publicly with other people in that period. we were very open about it. [indiscernible] >> these people came and went on saturday from your house in broad daylight. you spoke with reporters from the "herald" and said those three people were in your house, but they had come and gone during daylight. sen. hart: they came back. >> all three of them. sen. hart: yes. tosenator, how are you going convince people in the democratic party to raise money and get votes, given the attitude mentioned, how are you going to convince them that you're not going to make this kind of mistake in judgment about personal behavior again? sen. hart: by not doing it. >> they're going to want more
senator hart: i will demonstrate it through appealing to the voters on the issues they care about. my own view that as time goes on people will want to know about your judgment and character on issues that affect their lives, their families and the nation. that is what this campaign is going to be about. as we go on and i demonstrate that kind of leadership and this story gets proper perspective i , will be able to demonstrate that. we had a very successful event must night in new york. to my knowledge we have had very strong support from our political and financial -- reporter: let me clarify a few points. a point on which you and ms. rice seem to differ. one of them is about the boat trip in bimini.
you said you spent the night in bimini because her office was closed. the customs office says that makes absolutely no difference, you are perfectly free to leave. senator hart: i will tell you what i do with the time. when the boat arrived it was late afternoon, coming on dusk. i do not remember the exact time. the idea was to go over -- to which was there and have been repaired. and returned to miami that night. mr. rogers told me that the captain told him we waited around the docks for about half an hour to 45 minutes. there was no customs. the captain went in search of customs. i was not involved in any of this. i was talking to the boat people. i had my picture taken with them. i was not hiding or skulking around. they were people walking all over the place. we went finally without anyone coming with the papers over
toward mr. rogers' boat, stayed there for a while. he said we can't leave until the morning. we agreed we would leave at the very earliest time we could. we were prepared to go as early as 7:00 or so, i do not recall. the captain had to wait until 8:00. i'm just telling you what i was told. i have no independent way of verifying this. reporter: the second matter concerns the phone calls to the road. ms. rice indicated these were phone calls from you to discuss the news media attention and the womanizing issue. he said these are primarily calls from her to talk about a campaign job. senator hart: i suppose the keywords are "primarily." they were generally, primarily political. she had asked who she should talk to in the campaign about getting involved in the fundraising efforts both in that
area as well as in the entertainment community that she knew. leigh and i first met her briefly in aspen over the holidays at the home of some entertainment people. it was in recollection of that meeting that she said if i can , get involved in the campaign, what can i do? there were discussions along that line. my question to her was who are your contacts, your friends? should we put you in touch with one financial part of the campaign or another? we had general conversations that have been beaten up by a lot of rumors. we did discuss this. she did place one or two calls to -- she did not have my number. her question was on coming up with a friend on that weekend.
i said it's between you and her. reporter: if you do not know the name, but you read about two men in their 50's that were married that spent a weekend spending most of their time with two young women in their 20's. [indiscernible] would you believe that was a totally innocent event? can't you agree that this really stretches the credulity of the american public? senator hart: i think all four people assert the absolute innocence of their behavior. i don't know that anyone is speculating about any relationship between mr. broadhurst and the woman he was hiring. but there was none. i think the focus came to me for obvious reasons. the point being it is possible for modern times for people that
are 50, 60, 70 or 20 or 25 to spend time together. and not be intimately involved. this society is changing. i will answer your question with another question. i make mistakes. i said i was going to and i did. i will probably make more. i will not make this one. i am a human being. wasbelieve me, if my intent to have a relationship with a woman, particularly a very attractive woman, i certainly would not have gone about it this way. [laughter] reporter: you spend time alone with this woman in this house on a weekend when your wife is out of town. senator hart: my house is in washington. everybody knows where it is. reporter: there is a restaurant in the city of bar harbor that
is saying you signed the guestbook on the evening of february 12. that you were part of a party of four people, one of home was donna rice. a photo has been identified by employees of the restaurant. senator hart: i don't member the name of the restaurant. it was across from the hotel where the labor conference was being held. i did not see ms. rice between new year's day or the next day after new year's. the night she came on the boat, whatever they that was in march. reporter: who was with you in that booth at the restaurant that night? senator hart: there were more than four people. my recollection is they were people wh the convention. i had dinner with about 40 or 50 labor leaders in that complex. it was right across the hotel. i cannot remember the name of the hotel, we will get it for you. it was a large shopping complex.
after dinner a group -- my recollection is there were seven. i will try to find the names for you. reporter: there is a new poll out that is going to be released at 6:00 by the boston herald and wcvb. a week ago you were leading governor dukakis. you are leading at 32%. you have dropped today 17%. he is polling at 27% with 74% of those surveyed saying the issue will have a very negative impact on your candidacy. can you respond? senator hart: i think it is true but i think it's an impact in the short term. reporter: one reason people have diffulty believing your story is the question of phone calls. to somebody who you say is a fairly casual acquaintance but , you talk to her about half a dozen times in a short period. is it normal for you to talk to
someone you barely know while campaigning? senator hart: sometimes. i make a good deal of phone calls. i would not say it is ordinary but i would not say it is extraordinary either. it seems one of the fundraising goals i had was to put together groups that have not been together in a while. to me it's quite important to the campaign to put that together. if it had happened that might have resulted in a good deal of money. i have spent a good deal of time on the phones with people who can raise money. reporter: you said yesterday you perceived this as being common and appropriate behavior. do you ever stop to think during the course of this that these activities were coincidental with statements you made about rumors that he did not step back say this will be perceived
badly? i should not be doing this. senator hart: yes and no. it occurred to me i guess at every step. what i did not do was put the steps together. [indiscernible] everybody should have gone back out the front door. pattern i guess, that was the mistake. one entry, when departure i , think it would not have been a problem. reporter: you raise in your remarks yesterday the issue of morality and you raised the issue of truthfulness. let me ask you what you mean when you talked about morality. let me be very specific. i have a series of questions about it. when you said you did nothing wrong, did you mean you had no sexual relationship with donna rice last weekend or any other
time you were with her? senator hart: that is correct. reporter: the believe adultery is wrong? senator hart: yes. reporter: have you ever committed adultery? senator hart: i cannot answer that question. reporter: it seems to me the question of morality -- senator hart: i am innocent by definition. reporter: i think it is incumbent upon us to know what your definition of morality is. you believe adultery is wrong? senator hart: yes, i do. reporter: have you ever committed adultery? senator hart: i'm not going into the theological definition of what means adultery. in some people's minds is people being married and having relationships with other people. reporter: what -- do you in your wife have an understanding about whether or not you can have relations -- sexual encounters? senator hart: the answer is no, we don't have that kind of relationship. we have an understanding of
faithfulness, fidelity, and loyalty. reporter: donna rice's mother said today she cannot go out of her house, she cannot go to work. that her daughter is devastated and it may ruin her life. have you called donna rice or her mother or are you planning to apologize. senator hart: no, i think for obvious reasons. that just raises all kinds of other questions. i will do so publicly and say i very much regret the events that have negatively impacted her life and her daughter's life and all the others i mentioned earlier. i have stated that i made a mistake, a series of mistakes. i happen to believe that everybody has done their job and mistakes.le have made if they hadn't, none of this would be in the circumstances today. there is plenty of response ability to go around. reporter: was it upon your invitation that donna rice went
to bimini? senator hart: she did not force her way on the boat. we had decided, mr. broadhurst and i to visit his boat. , she was aboard the boat. we said would you like to go with us? she said yes, i would very much like to. reporter: you -- did you specifically invite her? you said we, did you or mr. broadhurst invite her? senator hart: i don't recall. three or four of us were standing around. >> how did she get on the boat? senator hart: she just walked onto the boat. reporter: you said you called her on the phone and invited her on the boat. senator hart: she came back after we met that night at the boat. we talked about the fundraising and her participation in the campaign with her contacts with the entertainment community. about midday or shortly thereafter, mr. broadhurst talk ed to the captain about taking the boat out. see what it is like.
i would like to go over to bimini and see my boat. i suppose we told her and her friend what we were going to do and they said, fine, we will go a long. i don't know whether i said do you want to go to bimini for he said you want to go to bimini, but that was a discussion. reporter: did you call her and ask her on a trip to l.a.? senator hart: i invited her to come back to the boat. she said i want to get involved in your campaign. this is when we talked the first night. i believe as i always do that thousands of people giving your name. i did not even frankly recall her last name. or her address and phone number and she left it. i called the next day and asked if you would like to come back in and talk. she did. then we talked about going on. reporter: did you ever specifically invite donna rice to take a trip with you? senator hart: no. reporter: how many times have you met her? [indiscernible]
reporter: there is a discussion of morality as you see it. except for the times that you and your wife are separated, has your marriage been monogamous? senator hart: i will not be answering that question. >> you have said that you made a mistake. what was the mistake and what you make it? senator hart: the mistake was to have people get engaged in a series of activities that lead to the conclusion that i was involved in an extramarital affair. there were parts of that mistake i can single out. i also said i don't think i was alone in making the mistake. there is such a thing called fairness in society. i'm going through this and will continue to answer questions. i'm doing my best.
as i said yesterday, there is a broader issue here than what i didnd t at is whether the system of national elections are fair or not. i will insist that this be a fair system. you can ask me about adultery, you can ask me any question you want, and believe me my wife and , i have answered more personal questions than i think anybody should in public life. i will have to continue to my regret. but i demand, and i have a right to demand it. if someone is going to follow me around they had better print all the facts. reporter: if you feel you don't have to answer about adultery and whether or not the relationship was monogamous why , is it necessary to say whether or not you in fact had actual
relation with donna rice? senator hart: there's a lot of difference between one person's reputation and getting into different aspects of a long-term marriage. i don't intend to subject my wife to that. , your you please tell us aids say you want to spend more time together with your wife. senator hart: obviously i want to that. reporter: can you tell us specifically when in the course of this campaign you have seen donna rice and tell us exactly when, all the times? been -- i meti've ms. rice briefly with a party of 40 or 50 or more people. i think new year's day or the next day. we introduced ourselves. i did not remember her name.
subsequently and not anytime before, i went aboard the boat after a fundraising event in miami with mr. broadhurst. alone. broadhurst there were no invitations for anyone to join us. there was no plan for anyone to join us. i was there an effort to relax. about 11:30 that night a group of about a dozen or 15 people showed up at the boat. they had been having dinner. the man who came aboard the boat to the owner and said i wanted to show my friends the boat. can we come aboard? we said of course. we talked to a few of them. how are you? we talked about miami. ms. rice came up and introduced herself. she said we met at don henley's , party. yes, how do you do. she said i was hoping to serve the meal.
i generally vaguely remember , that. we talked for perhaps 10 minutes maybe 15. , i also about 30 or 40 minutes to three or four other people at the party. i went up above, i went down below. her conversation in my took place in a space no bigger than this and it could not have been more than 10 minutes. she said i've never been involved in a campaign, i've never -- i would like to. i know some entertainers. i can tell you i did not her last name. she wrote her name, address, phone number. i left it on the boat. then came the bimini trip. the only time i saw her after that was in washington this week. period. reporter: did you ever have any intimate relations with donna rice while you are separated or not? senator hart: no. reporter: can you admit you made
a mistake in judgment? apart from the allegations of sexual impropriety, has your image suffered in another way that now you may no longer be perceived as the blue jean clad rail splitter in colorado, but someone who goes on extensive yachts to the bahamas? senator hart: [indiscernible] they were all kinds of people there. i have known people in the entertainment industry for 15 or 20 years. the people of colorado new that when the elected me. it's no secret. people of colorado know who i am. reporter: you said you made a mistake in judgment for the appearance of impropriety. you have been in politics for a long time. even accepting your version of
events some people have suggested the episode suggests a sort of recklessness on your part. can you address that issue? senator hart: i once said i love danger, but i don't love it that much. no. if i were up to anything that i should not have been, i sure would not have done it that way. >> can you describe how you perceive your relationship? what kind of a friendship? senator hart: friendship. she is intelligent. [indiscernible] you do not form that kind of
relationship -- >> the washington times reported that a passenger on the plane on hadss rice had flown seen an inscription to the effect of in lieu of flowers, until we meet, love, gary. did you make such an inscription? senator hart: i do not think i made that inscription. i probably made one i should not have. it is not reflect on any intimacy. i suppose i signed were distributed dozens of one book or another that i have written and maybe in the hundreds. quite frankly i cannot recall what i said in that. i might have said something like that but i could not verify. >> how is your fundraising going and will this affect it adversely? senator hart: we obviously, as i said, the only test we have is the one in new york on saturday.
we exceeded both participation and revenue. to my knowledge no one dropped out of that. some of you may have been there. i think you can verify the atmosphere. i did not run into anyone there who said, you have got serious problems on your hands. there was nothing negative, in fact it was quite the opposite. the personal response i get ahead of time was very, very positive. matter obviously intensified in the last few days. however the campaign has been in contact with our key financial supporters. obviously, they have been under siege from other candidates.
>> some people think that your relationship and your dealings with ms. rice indicate a certain willingness to take risks, considering the situation you were in. senator hart: that is what we were talking about. >> others asked if you're willing to take these kind of risks when you are the front runner in a campaign for president, what kind of risk-taking or brinksmanship would you be engaging in as president? senator hart: as i said earlier, we were talking about the issue of judgment and character in my -- character, and my position is, and i feel very strongly about it, that character and judgment among other qualities of leadership, commitment, confidence, are tested over time in a variety of ways. i would submit, and i think a fair assessment of my character and judgment and leadership ability would have to include my
entire public life, and indeed, my entire private personal life before that public life. i'm perfectly willing to submit that entire life to scrutiny. other people in public life have made mistakes and some of them have been a lot worse than mine. some have gone on to become president and some have gone on to become very good president. some of them hundreds of years after they have been brilliant presidents are still scrutinized in terms of their personal lives, and i have learned a lot in the last few days. i have already suggested that probably the major lesson is that even innocently you cannot do something that's going to give anybody impression of something not innocent. but i also have learned there is a terrible, terrible price to pay for being in public life these days. >> we have time for two more questions. >> people in the american
public, looking at your relationship with this woman, knowing that you from down the gauntlet to the press corps, that was a risk, would you say was risky, what you did? senator hart: i did not think it was at the time in terms of going to dinner inviting these , people into my house, and going out that afternoon having worked all morning on a speech that i gave yesterday. any of those individual actions is risky. looking back on it now, if someone had said ahead of time, if you did this, if you did this , could that be interpreted this way? but i was tired, i didn't think about it that way. i was not calculating anything. i just did what seemed to come naturally. >> when we had the conversation on the plane, i have two questions. there was a young woman on the plane who is described as a friend of mr. broadhurst.
was that donna rice? senator hart: senator hart: what playing where we on? >> the plane from austin to denver. senator hart: no, that was not donna rice. >> where do you rank adultery on the list of acts by which you judge a politician? how are you to persuade us or anyone who has looked at the story, given that you did sign a book with a woman you did go , on a cruise with her, you did spend time with her in washington, obviously very relaxed, casual time with her , how can you convince us or anyone that your story is true? senator hart: i can just tell you the facts and leave it up to you and the public to believe it. if you don't believe me, there is nothing i can do about it. i have told you the facts. mr. broadhurst has told you the fact. miss rice has told you the facts.
announcer: next on road to the white house, democratic candidate gary hart withdraws from the 1988 presidential race less than a month after his campaign began. the former colorado senator faced allegations of the extramarital affair with a miami woman named donna rice. in this 10 minute event in denver the former colorado , senator continues to deny the affair, saying he is quitting the race to spare his family and friends from rumors and gossip. michael dukakis won the 1988 democratic nomination but lost to vice president george h w bush in the general election. [applause] sen. hart: thank you very much. i apologize for being late. there was a little traffic on bear creek canyon this morning. intended quite frankly to come down here this morning and read a short, carefully worded political statement saying i was withdrawing from the race and