Belfast Telegraph

Former US senator Gary Hart is no stranger to Ireland

By Claire Williamson

Former US senator Gary Hart is no stranger to Ireland.

But he will be hoping that this visit is much less controversial than last time - with no monkey business.

In April 1987 Hart announced the beginning of his second presidential campaign.

Less than a month later a newspaper published a photo of a woman who wasn't his wife leaving his home.

Hart expressed outrage, but within a week it published photos of 29-year-old model Donna Rice sitting on Hart's lap on a yacht called Monkey Business. He dropped out of the race and sought solitude in Ireland.

In 1974 Hart ran for the US Senate. In the election he challenged two-term incumbent Republican Peter Dominick. Hart won by a wide margin and was subsequently labelled a rising star. In 1980, he sought a second term, and in February 1983 announced his candidacy for President in the 1984 campaign.

To raise his profile Hart hit the hustings early, and as a result attracted national media attention.

Hart became the main challenger to Walter Mondale for nomination. He gained exposure as a candidate with "new ideas". The most famous television moment of the campaign came in a debate.

Mondale mocked Hart's "new ideas" by quoting a line from a Wendy's television commercial at the time: "Where's the beef?" Hart's campaign could not effectively counter this remark, and when he ran later negative TV commercials against Mondale, his appeal as the "new kind" of Democrat never fully recovered. Following his campaigning he resumed his law practice but remained active in politics, gaining a reputation as an expert on security issues.

A week before September 11 he gave a speech to an American international law firm warning that within the next 25 years a terrorist attack would lead to mass deaths in America.

In 2002 he considered another run for President, but decided against it.

In September 2007 The Huffington Post published his letter 'Unsolicited Advice to the Government of Iran' in it he stated "provocation is no longer required to take America to war".

In the same year he founded the American Security Project.

Hart is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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