May 8, 1987 – Gary Hart: “I tremble for my country when I think we may, in fact, get the kind of leaders we deserve.”

Gary Hart - press conf. May 8, 1987
Gary Hart – Facing the music and dancing.

May 8, 1987 – CBS News + Gary Hart Announcement and Press Conference – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

May 8, 1987. a day of announcements and hearings. In Denver, Presidential hopeful Gary Hart addressed a crowd and took himself out of the race, all due to alleged affairs. Up to this point Colorado Senator Gary Hart was a shoe-in for a nomination. But word surfaced of an affair with a young woman and reports of other extra-marital affairs came to light. At first Hart denied the allegations, but as the story gained momentum, the damage to his Presidential campaign had already been done.

And so Gary Hart announced his intentions to drop out of the race and went on the air to make that announcement:

Gary Hart: “We’re all going to have to seriously question the system for selecting our national leaders, for it reduces the press of this nation to hunters and Presidential candidates to being hunted. That has reporters in bushes; false and inaccurate stories printed; photographers peeking in our windows; swarms of helicopters hovering over our roof, and my very strong wife close to tears because she can’t even get in her own house at night without being harassed.

And then after all that, ponderous pundits wondering in mock seriousness why some of the best people in this country choose not to run for high office.

Now I want those talented people who supported me to insist that this system be changed. Too much of it is just a mockery, and if it continues to destroy people’s integrity and honor, then that system will eventually destroy itself.

Politics in this country – take it from me – is on the verge of becoming another form of athletic competition or sporting match. We all better do something to make this system work or we’re all going to be soon rephrasing Jefferson to say: I tremble for my country when I think we may, in fact, get the kind of leaders we deserve. Advice to Young Idealists

I say to my children and other frustrated and angry young people, I’m angry, too. I’ve made some mistakes; I’ve said so. I said I would, because I’m human. And I did. Maybe big mistakes, but not bad mistakes.

But I’m an idealist and I love this country deeply, and I want to serve this country. The events of this week should not deter any of you who are idealistic young people from moving on and moving up.

I would say to the young people of this country the torch of idealism burns bright in your hearts. It should lead you into public service and national service. It should lead you to want to make this country better.

And whoever you are and whatever you do in that cause, at least in spirit, I will be with you.”

Meanwhile, the Iran-Contra hearings were taking place on Capitol Hill.

Certainly, a day for politics and revelations. And that was just a little of what went on, this May 8, 1987 as reported by CBS Radio News.

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