Sen. Gary Hart became a political star when he challenged former Vice President Walter Mondale for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. While his campaign failed that year, it instantly made him the front-runner for the nomination in 1988.

Hart seemed to be cruising along until allegations of an affair with a model, Donna Rice, forced him to leave the race in May, 1987.

Weeks later, the National Enquirer would publish a picture of Hart and Rice together onboard a boat called “The Monkey Business.”

Gary Hart and Donna Rice on the cover of the National Enquirer

The scandal is the focus of the new movie “The Front Runner.”

Hugh Jackman plays Hart as a man of substance and immense political talent whose private life was a little murkier.

For those who remember Hart’s downfall, there was a great deal of debate on whether it was the roll of the political press to report on tabloid-style affairs.

The Miami Herald did, and the rest of the press followed.

And it changed the way we covered politicians forever.

In 1987, I was a 21 year old college broadcasting student, still interviewing my family whenever a good topic came up.

What follows is my discussion with family members about Gary Hart, and the role of the press:

 

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