"If you care about the country, you can't sit on the sidelines.  It's that simple.  And I care about this country.  And I didn't quit caring when I retired from the United States Senate..."
Gary Hart (official pre-campaign site)
Coudert Brothers     U.S. Commission on Nat. Security/21st Century
Organization   IA | NH

Updated Sept. 30, 2003 
Gary Hart served as U.S. Senator for Colorado from 1975 to 1987.  In 1984 Hart sought the Democratic presidential nomination running on the theme of "new ideas," but the Democratic establishment threw its backing behind former Vice President Walter Mondale.  Hart was caught engaging in some Monkey Business in 1987 and his 1988 campaign fizzled.  Since then, however, Hart has been toiling in the vineyards of democracy, producing five nonfiction books (as well as a couple of novels) and serving on the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century.  His name emerged as a possible 2004 candidate in November 2002.  An article in the December 30, 2002 issue of The New Republic detailed how a couple of university students prompted Hart to think about running.

A Primary of Ideas
Hart explained his thinking about a presidential bid in a January 2003 visit to Capitol Hill.  "I think I've got something to say; I know I've got something to say.  I know what I have to say is different from everybody else and I want to make a contribution and that's all I'm trying to do is figure out how to do that.  If it means running for President I'll do it; if it means doing something else I'll do something else." [more]  By the third week of January he was starting to look very much like a candidate.  A web site went up on January 18.  On January 21, he delivered the first of four major policy speeches, on national security.  In subsequent speeches he addressed foreign policy (February 10), restoring the Republic (end of February) and the new economy (March 4). 

Hart did not form an exploratory committee or a campaign committee, but in mid-March he began a more formal "testing the waters" phase, forming an entity, GaryHartNews, Inc., to manage his activities.  He continued traveling and speaking until on May 7 he ruled out a presidential campaign.  Writing in the Denver Post, he stated, "I have absolutely no doubt that I can compete with any Democrat in this race on the level of ideas and policies and communicating those to the voters...  However, the issue for me is one of process - all the filters, such as money, media and polls, through wich a national vision must pass."  Hart endorsed Sen. John Kerry on September 30.

Website went up on Jan. 18, 2003.
(Hart launched his own blog on 
this site on March 28, 2003).

Strengths and Weaknesses
+ Hart offers a fresh face, since he has not been much in the public eye in the last dozen years or so, and at the same time has experience as a U.S. Senator and presidential candidate.
+ Running an unconventional campaign, Hart could distinguish himself from the rest of the field.
+ Very knowledgeable about homeland security and national security issues.

- Two words: Monkey Business.  Whether the media and the public will be able to get past that episode from Hart's past to examine the ideas he is offering remains to be seen. 

Readings and Resources
John Tierney.  "Gary Hart Weighs Strengths Against Past Embarrassment."  The New York Times.  January 24, 2003.
Michelle Cottle.  Comeback Kids: The Strange Return of Gary Hart."  The New Republic.  December 30, 2002. >

Books by Gary Hart:
Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st-Century America.  Oxford University Press (July 2002).
The Minuteman: Restoring an Army of the People.  The Free Press (May 1998).
The Patriot: An Exhortation to Liberate America from the Barbarians.  The Free Press (December 1996).
The Good Fight: The Education of an American Reformer.  Random House (May 1993).
Russia Shakes the World: The Second Russian Revolution and Its Impact on the West. HarperCollins (Aug. '91). 
with William S. Lind. America Can Win: The Case for Military Reform.  Adler & Adler Pub (April 1986).
A New Democracy.  William Morrow & Co. (1982). 
Right from the Start: A Chronicle of the McGovern Campaign.  Times Books (June 1973).

as John Blackthorn. I, Che Guevara.  William Morrow & Co. (2000).
as John Blackthorn. Sins of the Fathers.  William Morrow & Co. (1999).
The Strategies of Zeus.  William Morrow & Co. (1987). 
with William Cohen. The Double Man  William Morrow & Co. (1985).

Speeches and Statements
Message of May 7, 2003 -- "Thank you all - I intend to keep fighting"

January 9, 2003--Former Sen. Gary Hart and Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO) held a news conference after Hart spoke to the House Democratic caucus on national security.

Copyright © 2003  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action