DENVER — The wife of Democratic presidential front-runner Gary Hart said today that she's not disturbed by his association with a young actress and doesn't think anyone else should be.
"Gary said 'I did nothing,' and I know he did nothing," Lee Hart said in an interview before flying to join her husband in New Hampshire. "And in all honesty, if it (Hart spending time with Donna Rice) doesn't bother me, I don't think it ought to bother anyone else."
Asked whether she thought Hart showed poor judgment in having a relationship with Rice, Lee Hart said, "If I could have planned his weekend schedule, I think I would have scheduled it differently.
"But I don't think one should misconstrue something that may be a bad political judgment with the kind of character assassination that has been going on."
Report in Miami Herald
The Miami Herald reported Sunday that the 50-year-old candidate and Rice, 29, an actress, model and pharmaceutical saleswoman, spent Friday night and most of Saturday together at his town house while Lee Hart was in Denver.
The former Colorado senator also traveled to New Hampshire today from New York, but canceled appearances set for Thursday and Friday so that he could return to Denver and see his family.
"My support is as strong today as I have always given to him," Lee Hart said at a meeting with reporters at Stapleton International Airport.
"I know Gary better than anyone else. When Gary says nothing happened, nothing happened. One thing I do know especially about my husband, he does not lie."
Until she agreed to be interviewed today by AP, UPI, the New York Times and ABC, Lee Hart had been in seclusion at the family home in Troublesome Gulch, in the mountain foothills west of Denver.
In the interview, the candidate's wife said she met Rice at a New Year's Eve party in Aspen held by Don Henley of the former rock group, the Eagles.
She also said she knew her husband had gone to Bimini two days later with a male friend, Rice and a friend of the young woman's.
Not Clear About Bimini
Lee Hart did not make it clear whether she knew Hart saw Rice during the Bimini excursion. Rice said the day trip turned into an overnight trip, but the women slept on a separate boat from the men.
"I knew about the weekend trip. He had the weekend off," said Lee Hart, adding: "I do not ask Gary what he is doing every moment of his life, nor does he ask me. I do not ask him what phone calls he has made."
Asked what effect the flap might have on her husband's presidential campaign, she said, "The American people have to respond to that."
Hart admits mistake, Page 10.