Gary Hart's Meteoric Fall in the 1988 Primaries
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 12:21PM
W. R. in 1988, Gary Hart, Nixon, Scandal, Video

24 years ago, one time Democratic frontrunner Gary Hart abruptly dropped out of the 1988 Presidential race. Besieged by negative press, the campaign had lasted only three weeks -- an implosion caused by a newspaper stakeout, a careless candidate and a photograph that suggested an extra-marital affair with a woman 20 years his junior. 

Hart's nightmare candidacy began with several unconfirmed murmurs of infidelity. When questioned about the rumors, Hart took a defiant approach, playing chicken with the press, even daring reporters to tail him. 

Famous last words. Watch this clip to see how the events unfolded:

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Outraged, Hart's defiance in the face of the evidence drew parallels to Richard Nixon's classic "blame the press" disposition. Nixon himself even reached out to Hart following his departure from the race, telling him that "They demand to ruthlessly question the ethics of anyone else, but when anyone else dares to question their ethics, they hide behind the shield of freedom of speech.''

Article originally appeared on Will Rabbe, Producer, Journalist & Historian (
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