SANDUSKY, Ohio — Gov. Richard F. Celeste said Wednesday that a newspaper report linking him romantically to three women during the past decade will not affect his plans to consider running for President.
Celeste and his wife, Dagmar, talked to reporters after a meeting with elected officials in Sandusky. He did not refer specifically to allegations made in Wednesday's editions of the Plain Dealer.
The Cleveland newspaper, which cited unidentified sources, did not identify the women or detail any involvement but said two of them were married to friends of Celeste. Celeste has been married for 25 years.
Repeats Earlier Statement
Celeste, his wife standing beside him during the hastily called news conference Wednesday, repeated what he said Tuesday night when first asked about the report:
"Twenty-five years ago, Dagmar and I made a choice to get married for better and for worse. . . . We sustained that choice not because we're a perfect couple; but we've sustained it and I think we've grown stronger together as much by learning from our weaknesses as learning from our strengths.
"I want you to know that I believe our personal lives are just that. It's between me and Dagmar, between me and my kids. That's where it ought to be. That's where it is. That's where I intend to keep it."
Mrs. Celeste added: "I feel that the greatest gift you can give if you love somebody is forgiveness. And I agree with the strengths and weaknesses portion of what Dick is talking about. It's true for personal life. It's true for political life."
Celeste, at a town forum here Tuesday night, said he had not seen the story but added: "I think frankly this kind of discussion is inappropriate."
Two of the women said to be linked with Celeste could not be reached for comment and the third declined comment, according to the newspaper.
The newspaper said the governor's close advisers fear that womanizing could become an issue if Celeste decides to seek the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.
Reports linking former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart to a Miami woman forced Hart to withdraw from the race last month.
Celeste, a former Peace Corps director elected last year to his second term as governor, was asked by a reporter Monday if there was anything in his personal life "that might preclude you from being President, much in the same way that it has Gary Hart?"
The governor replied: "No."