Gary Hart Dares the Media to Follow Him Around

|
9
Gary Hart Dares the Media to Follow Him Around

The famous photo of Gary Hart wearing an unfortunately named "Monkey Business" T-shirt (the name of his boat) with mistress Donna Rice on his lap.

National Enquirer/Getty Images

Gary Hart was a married politician, lawyer, author, and college professor whose hubris led him to making an incredibly dumb move: provoking the media.

Hart's pitfall -- besides having an affair with a model named Donna Rice while running for office -- was assuming that he was smarter than reporters. Hart must have thought that he could count on absolute discretion from Rice and everyone else who knew about the relationship. And with his background he should have known better.

Hart was a campaign manager-turned-politician, and in 1987, the favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination [source: Currie]. Reporters suspected an affair between Hart and Rice, but it was Hart's arrogance that did him in. When rumors surfaced that he was cheating on his wife, rather than dodging the questions or coming clean, Hart adamantly denied the rumors, and dared the media to follow him around. ("You'll be bored," was his actual comment.)

Surprise! Reporters did just that, and that same day, they spotted Rice leaving Hart's house. Then they discovered that Hart had taken a romantic cruise with Rice, on a boat called -- no, seriously -- "Monkey Business." Then, reporters began hounding Rice's close friend (and "Monkey Business" shipmate) Lynn Armandt about the relationship. Armandt dodged reporters for weeks before she finally caved and confessed to knowing first-hand about the Hart-Rice affair [source: Green]. From the account of the affair that Armandt later shared with People Magazine, the biggest surprise in this scandal is that it didn't break sooner. Neither party was very discreet, and Rice had told several friends about her tryst.

The Rice scandal rocked Hart's presidential bid, and he withdrew from the race in May of 1988 [source: Sabato].

|