Colorado's Gary Hart looks at 1984 presidential run
Sen. Gary Hart (D) Colorado is holding himself forth as the ''thoughtful'' presidential candidate. He's not quite in the race yet - but clearly eager to run.Skip to next paragraph
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And he's making it clear that he's going to give voters his own in-depth thinking on all the major issues before, not after, he asks for their vote.
Senator Hart says he sees the US public as being well aware that there are no simple answers to the very complex problems which beset the nation. So, he says, if you say, ''Here are the answers,'' you are probably going to lose.
The voters ''want your thinking,'' he says: ''They know the problems have changed; they know the world has changed. And they want to know how you would address those changes.''
Over breakfast the senator provided some preliminary insights into where his current study of issues is taking him, particularly on defense. He says he's against the dense-pack MX missile basing system and sees a possible alternative in somehow getting the Soviets to agree with the US to eliminate the multiple warheads on the nuclear missiles, thus enabling both sides to return to a more simple and far less costly one-warhead system.
But reporters at breakfast, hearing this tentative proposal, expressed skepticism. They questioned how such an agreement could be verified. And would removing the old system and starting over again be terribly costly? More exchange between reporters and Hart follows:
Does the idea of running for president sound any better to you than it did when you were here several months back?
Not particularly. (laughter)
That doesn't mean that it didn't sound interesting before. I've spent the last number of months preparing for the race if in fact I decided to make it . . . in a variety of ways.
One, getting better acquainted throughout the party and trying to help its candidates. Two, identifying a financial base in this country - and beginning the process of fund raising. And three, and perhaps most importantly, trying to develop what I consider to be the issues base for the 1980s. And it's in that area that I've tried to do the most work and which, I think, in the next few months will have the most effect.
Traditionally, it usually works the other way around, as you know. Politicians think about what they stand for or what their platform is going to be at the end of their race, not at the beginning.
My sense of things, in the party and around the country, is that there is an increasing desire to know not just can someone win, but what they will do if they win. Consequently, I've put a lot of effort into the economy and energy and defense-related issues.
The vice-president has been expressing frustration over the fact that no one seems to understand that this is a President who is fully committed to cutting back on nuclear arms. Can you account for this public perception?
It's because he is the first president in quite a while who seems to have had no serious proposal to limit or control the arms buildup in the first year or two of office.