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Gary Hart: Big-Money Clinton Campaign Should 'Frighten' America

By    |   Sunday, 05 April 2015 10:35 PM EDT

Former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, who sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1984 and 1988, said that money and dynasty were playing a toxic role in contemporary American politics, Politico reported.

Now 78, Hart told Politico that Democrats  "need new leaders" rather than turning to Hillary Clinton — and the same holds true for Republicans with Jeb Bush. "If you've got to have a billion dollars to run for president, how many people can do that? Only the Clintons and the Bushes and one or two others," said Hart.

Bush, a former Florida governor, was the only GOP presidential contender who aimed at making the Republican Party more inclusive and mainstream, however he too was part of a family dynasty, said Hart.

"This country is 330 million people, and we should not be down to two families who are qualified to govern," Hart told Politico. "When you create dynastic networks, you shut a lot of people out."

Hart was a dark horse candidate in 1984, coming close to upsetting former Carter administration Vice President Walter Mondale, who ultimately captured the nomination.

He recalled that when he ran for president, he and his wife mortgaged their home for roughly $50,000 to $75,000 — in 1984, enough money to make a difference in the early stages of the campaign. "I'm now told the Clinton campaign intends to raise $1 billion. Now, that ought to frighten every American," he told Politico.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who worked on Hart's presidential campaigns and may challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination, should press the former Obama administration secretary of state to explain her views. "The job of a challenger is to force specificity: 'Here is my plan, now let's see her plan,'" Hart said.

He said progressive challengers like O'Malley could distinguish themselves by offering detailed policy positions, emphasizing that they represent a new generation, and by seeking small contributions on the Internet, Politico reported.

O'Malley will need to refine his persona if he is to become the progressive alternative to Clinton. "I think he's got to establish that through his speeches and his behavior," he said.

Hart said Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren was "interesting" and "courageous," though he took her at her word that she did not intend to seek the nomination.

The polls say Clinton has 50 percent support, Hart said. That means half of Democratic voters might prefer someone else.

He said the media and the donor class force elected officials to "demean themselves to beg for money."

This phenomenon has pushed talent out of the system, he said, leaving "fewer" and "smaller" people to fill the leadership void.

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Gary Hart, a two-time Democrat presidential candidate, tells Politico that a billion-dollar Hillary Clinton campaign for the White House ought to frighten every American.
hart, clinton, president, campaign
Sunday, 05 April 2015 10:35 PM
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