|Birth Day:||November 28, 1936|
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Hart was born in Ottawa, Kansas, the son of Nina (née Pritchard) and Carl Riley Hartpence, a farm equipment salesman. As a young man, he worked as a laborer on the railroad. He and his father changed their last name to "Hart" in 1961 because "Hart is a lot easier to remember than Hartpence." Raised in the Church of the Nazarene (which he ultimately left in 1968), he won a scholarship to the Church-affiliated Bethany Nazarene College (now Southern Nazarene University) in Bethany, Oklahoma, in 1954 and graduated with a B.A. in philosophy in 1958. He met his wife, Oletha "Lee" Ludwig, there, and they married in 1958. Initially intending to enter the Nazarene ministry, he received a B.D. from Yale Divinity School in 1961 before receiving an LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1964.
The New York Times opined that some compared Hart's press conference to Richard Nixon's "Last Press Conference" of November 7, 1962, in which Nixon blamed the media for his loss in the 1962 California gubernatorial election and did not take responsibility for his own actions. Hart, in fact, received a letter from Nixon himself commending him for "handling a very difficult situation uncommonly well". The unprecedented nature of the investigation and reporting on Hart's personal life was widely noted and reported at the time; 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 became an attorney for the United States Department of Justice from 1964 to 1965, and was admitted to the Colorado and District of Columbia bars in 1965. He was special assistant to the solicitor of the United States Department of the Interior from 1965 to 1967. He then entered private law practice in Denver, Colorado, at the firm of Davis Graham & Stubbs.
Following the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, U.S. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota co-chaired a commission that revised the Democratic presidential nomination structure. The new structure weakened the influence of such old-style party bosses as Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who were once able to hand-pick national convention delegates and dictate the way they voted. The new rules made caucuses a process in which relative newcomers could participate without paying dues to established party organizations.
In the 1972 primary elections, McGovern named Hart his national campaign director. Along with Rick Stearns, an expert on the new system, they decided on a strategy to focus on the 28 states holding caucuses instead of primary elections. They felt the nature of the caucuses made them easier (and less costly) to win if they targeted their efforts. While their primary election strategy proved successful in winning the nomination, McGovern went on to lose the 1972 presidential election in one of the most lopsided elections in U.S. history.
In 1974, Hart ran for the United States Senate, challenging two-term incumbent Republican Peter Dominick. Hart was aided by Colorado's trend toward Democrats during the early 1970s, as well as Dominick's continued support for the unpopular President Richard Nixon and concerns about the senator's age and health. In the general election, Hart won by a wide margin (57.2% to Dominick's 39.5%) and was immediately labeled a rising star. He got a seat on the Armed Services Committee, and was an early supporter of reforming the bidding for military contracts, as well as an advocate for the military using smaller, more mobile weapons and equipment, as opposed to the traditional large-scale items. He also served on the Environment and Public Work Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee. From 1975 to 1976, Hart was a member of the post-Watergate Church Committee that investigated abuses by the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. Hart served as the chairman of Senate Subcommittee on Nuclear Regulation. He flew over the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in an Army helicopter several times with fellow Senator Alan Simpson during the nuclear accident and led the subsequent Senate investigation into the incident.
In 1980, he sought a second term. In something of a surprise, his Republican opponent was Colorado Secretary of State Mary Estill Buchanan, a moderate candidate who narrowly defeated the more conservative choice, Howard "Bo" Callaway, in the party primary, by fewer than 2,000 primary votes. Fourteen years earlier, Callaway had been the Republican gubernatorial nominee in his native Georgia. Callaway in the early 1970s had bought and run an elegant resort in Crested Butte. Buchanan had hit Hart hard for supporting the Panama Canal Treaties and for backing then-President Jimmy Carter in 80% of his Senate votes. Buchanan charged in a campaign ad about Hart: "He votes one way and talks another when he is back here. He is a liberal, McGovernite carpetbagger." Hart responded that Buchanan's charges reflected her narrow viewpoint and insisted that his campaign would rise above partisanship. Said Hart in a campaign ad: "I will not ignore her. We will interact and debate, but I am going to run a campaign for the 1980s. What is her plan for the environment? For national defense? For the economy? It took me a year or so to formulate my ideas." In the end, Hart won narrowly, with 50.2% of the vote to his opponent's 48.7%.
Following his reelection, Hart received an age waiver from Hidalgo and was commissioned as a lieutenant (junior grade) in the Judge Advocate General's Corps on December 4, 1980. The commission carried "no pay or allowances." Although Hart sought to be commissioned in the grades of lieutenant commander or commander (in keeping with contemporaries in Congress who had served in World War II and the Korean War), Navy Judge Advocate General John S. Jenkins advised Hidalgo to commission Hart at the lower rank because he "didn't bring to the program anything that was so unusual that we could recommend appointment at a higher grade." However, then-U.S. Navy Senate liaison officer John McCain (who cultivated a close friendship with Hart in that capacity, presaging his own political career) maintained in a 1984 interview that a field officer appointment would have been "appropriate." Following ten days of active duty with the United States Sixth Fleet in August 1981, Hart was promoted to lieutenant on January 1, 1982. Pundits such as Rowland Evans and Robert Novak suggested that Hart's appointment was a cynical political maneuver designed to "clear the biographical decks" for the 1984 presidential election in an era when military service was perceived as a tacit prerequisite for the presidency.
On December 2, 1981, Hart was one of only four senators to vote against an amendment to President Reagan's MX missiles proposal that would divert the silo system by $334 million as well as earmark further research for other methods that would allow giant missiles to be based. The vote was seen as a rebuff of the Reagan administration.
Hart's media campaign was produced by Raymond Strother, a native Texan who had begun his career in Louisiana. Hart could not overcome Mondale's financial and organizational advantages, however, especially among labor union leaders in the Midwest and industrial Northeast. Hart's campaign was chronically in debt, to a final count of $4.75 million. In states like Illinois, where delegates were elected directly by primary voters, Hart often had incomplete delegate slates. Hart's ideas were criticized as too vague and centrist by many Democrats. Shortly after he became the new frontrunner, it was revealed that Hart had changed his last name, had often listed 1937 instead of 1936 as his birth date and had changed his signature several times. This, along with two separations from his wife (1979 and 1981), Lee, caused some to question Hart's "flake factor." Hart himself admitted in an interview that he was going through a midlife crisis and focused too much on his career, neglecting his family. Reporters observed that the Harts appeared distant and distracted in public. Hart was also not close to his children, often leaving his wife to raise them completely alone. He and his wife briefly dated each other casually during their second separation, which occurred for a few months in 1981. Additionally, the Harts had begun divorce proceedings but had stopped them after reconciling. Hart and his wife later stated that the separations, caused by too much time spent apart due to politics, only strengthened their marriage. The Harts have remained married for almost 60 years.
In February 1983, during his second term, Hart announced his candidacy for president in the 1984 presidential election. At the time of his announcement, Hart was a little-known senator and barely received above 1 percent in the polls against better-known candidates such as Walter Mondale, John Glenn and Jesse Jackson. To counter this situation, Hart started campaigning early in New Hampshire, making a then-unprecedented canvassing tour in late September, months before the primary. This strategy attracted national media attention to his campaign, and by late 1983, he had risen moderately in the polls to the middle of the field, mostly at the expense of the sinking candidacies of Glenn and Alan Cranston. Mondale won the Iowa caucus in late January, but Hart polled a respectable 16 percent. Two weeks later, in the New Hampshire primary, he shocked much of the party establishment and the media by defeating Mondale by 10 percentage points. Hart instantly became the main challenger to Mondale for the nomination and appeared to have the momentum on his side.
The scandal spread rapidly through the national media, as did another damaging story about angry creditors of the $1.3 million debt Hart had incurred in his 1984 campaign. Media questions about the affair came to dominate coverage of Hart's campaign, but his staff believed that voters were not as interested in the topic as the media was. Hart's staff believed that the media was filtering his message. A Gallup Poll conducted that week for Newsweek (but published the following week) found that 55% of Democrats believed that Hart had been truthful, and 44% of them were unconcerned about the issue. The polling of all voters was even more favorable to Hart. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the respondents it surveyed thought the media treatment of Hart was "unfair", and 70% disapproved of covert surveillance by the media. A little over half (53 percent) responded that marital infidelity had little to do with a president's ability to govern. Time magazine had similar results: of those polled, 67% disapproved of the media writing about a candidate's sex life, and 60% stated that Hart's relationship with Rice was irrelevant to the presidency. When queried about the matter, Cuomo remarked that there were "skeletons in everybody's closet."
Hart declined to run for re-election to the Senate, leaving office when his second term expired with the intent of running for president again. On December 20, 1986, Hart was allegedly followed by an anonymous private investigator from a radio station where he had given the Democratic Party's response to President Reagan's weekly radio address. That alleged investigator report claimed that Hart had been followed to a woman's house, photographed there, and left sometime the following morning. This allegation would ultimately cause him to suspend his planned presidential campaign. After Mario Cuomo announced that he would not enter the race in February 1987, Hart was the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in the 1988 election.
Hart officially declared his candidacy on April 13, 1987.
On May 8, 1987, a week after the story broke, Hart suspended his campaign after The Washington Post threatened to run a story about a woman Hart had dated while separated from his wife, and his wife and daughter became similar subjects of interest for tabloid journalists.
His campaign chairman, Colorado congresswoman Patricia Schroeder, jumped into the race following Hart's withdrawal, but soon after withdrew herself at an emotional press conference on September 28, 1987.
In December 1987, Hart returned to the race, declaring on the steps of New Hampshire Statehouse, "Let's let the people decide!" Hart said that the other candidates did not represent his new ideas of strategic investment economics, military reform and "enlightened engagement in foreign policy." Hart warned, "We could lose more young Americans unnecessarily in the Persian Gulf." He initially rose to the top of the polls nationally, and second behind Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in New Hampshire, but was soon confronted with more negative stories about prior debts from his 1984 campaign. He competed in the New Hampshire primary and received 4,888 votes, about 4 percent. After the Super Tuesday contests on March 8, in which he won no more than 5 percent of the vote, Hart withdrew from the campaign a second time. Eventual Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis lost the 1988 United States presidential election by a substantial margin in both the popular and electoral vote, by margins unequaled since, winning in only 10 of 50 states.
After his Senate service and presidential races, Hart resumed his law practice. He remained moderately active in public policy matters, serving on the bipartisan US Commission on National Security/21st Century, also known as the Hart–Rudman Commission, commissioned on behalf of Bill Clinton in 1998 to study U.S. homeland security. The commission issued several findings calling for broad changes to security policy, but none were implemented until after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He earned a D.Phil. in politics from the University of Oxford in 2001 with a dissertation entitled The Restoration of the Republic; while at Oxford, he was a member of St Antony's College.
In January 2000, Hart revealed that he is the political thriller writer John Blackthorn, whose books include Sins of the Fathers and I, Che Guevara.
Hart gave a speech before the American international law firm Coudert Brothers on September 4, 2001, exactly one week before the September 11 attacks, warning that within the next 25 years a terrorist attack would lead to mass deaths in the United States. Hart met with aviation executives in Montreal, Canada, on September 5, 2001, to warn of terrorist attacks. The Montreal Gazette reported the story the following day with a headline, "Thousands Will Die, Ex-Presidential Hopeful Says." On September 6, 2001, Hart met with National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to urge, "You must move more quickly on homeland security. An attack is going to happen." In a subsequent interview with Salon.com, Hart accused President George W. Bush and other administration officials of ignoring his warnings.
In late 2002, urged by former Oxford classmates, Hart began testing the waters for another run for the presidency, launching a website at GaryHartNews.com and a related speaking tour to gauge reactions from the public. He started his own blog in the spring of 2003, the first prospective presidential candidate to do so. After a few months of speaking, Hart decided not to run for president and instead endorsed Democrat John Kerry. According to an October 23, 2004 National Journal article and later reports in The Washington Post, Hart was mentioned as a probable Cabinet appointment if Kerry won the presidency. He was considered a top candidate for either Director of National Intelligence, Secretary of Homeland Security or Secretary of Defense.
Since May 2005, he has been a contributing blogger at HuffPost. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Hart also sits on the Advisory Board of Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based international relief and development agency. It was announced in January 2006 that Hart will hold an endowed professorship at the University of Colorado. He is the author of James Monroe, part of the Times Books series on American presidents published in October 2005. Hart is an Honorary Fellow of the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin. He is an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. He is also a member of the ReFormers Caucus of Issue One.
Since retiring from the Senate, he has emerged as a consultant on national security, and continues to speak on a wide range of issues, including the environment and homeland security. In 2006, Hart accepted an endowed professorship at the University of Colorado at Denver. He has been a visiting lecturer at Oxford University, Yale University, and the University of California. He is Chair of the U.S. State Department's International Security Advisory Council, Chair of the U.S. Defense Department's Threat Advisory Council, and Chair of the American Security Project. He was Vice-Chair of the Advisory Council for the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Co-Chair of the U.S.-Russia Commission, Chairman of the Council for a Livable World, and President of Global Green, the U.S. affiliate of Mikhail Gorbachev's environmental foundation. Most notably, he was Co-Chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century, known as the Hart-Rudman Commission, which predicted terrorist attacks on America before 9/11.
In a 2007 commentary for HuffPost, Hart asserted that his desire to "understand and communicate better with our troops" was the primary motivation for his appointment. Although he "did not routinely fulfill [his] reserve duties" and "chose not to feature this experience in subsequent campaigns," he maintained that his service "helped [him] enormously in appreciating what our military does to make us more secure."
In September 2007, The Huffington Post published Hart's letter, "Unsolicited Advice to the Government of Iran", in which he stated that "Provocation is no longer required to take America to war" and warns Iran that "for the next sixteen months or so, you should not only not take provocative actions, you should not seem to be doing so." He went on to suggest that the Bush-Cheney administration was waiting for an opportunity to attack Iran, writing: "Don't give a certain vice president we know the justification he is seeking to attack your country."
Hart linked American energy policy with national security in an essay published in November 2007. Hart wrote, "In fact, we do have an energy policy: It's to continue to import more than half our oil and sacrifice American lives so we can drive our Humvees. This is our current policy, and it is massively immoral." Hart currently sits on the board of directors for the Energy Literacy Advocates. He founded the American Security Project in 2007 and he started a new blog in 2009.
In October 2014, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry named Hart as the new United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. Hart is the second former U.S. Senator to hold the post. The first was George Mitchell, former seat-mate and former Majority Leader of the United States Senate, who served from 1995 to 2001. In a statement, Kerry called Hart "a longtime friend" and said he was "a problem-solver, a brilliant analyst, and someone capable of thinking at once tactically, strategically, and practically."
Currently, Gary Hart is 84 years, 7 months and 29 days old. Gary Hart will celebrate 85th birthday on a Sunday 28th of November 2021. Below we countdown to Gary Hart upcoming birthday.