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Hart Sets Interview With 'No Conditions'

September 03, 1987|KEITH LOVE | Times Political Writer

Former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart will appear on ABC-TV's "Nightline" Tuesday night in what a show spokeswoman described as an interview with "absolutely no conditions."

Hart was the front-runner in the Democratic race when he quit on May 8 after reports that he spent a weekend in Washington with Miami model Donna Rice while his wife was out of town.

He has made no major public appearances since then and refused in a June interview with The Times to discuss the Rice affair, dwelling instead on his desire to "contribute to the debate" as the remaining Democratic candidates seek the 1988 presidential nomination.

Hart adviser William Shore said Tuesday that "Gary will use the ('Nightline') opportunity to talk about his reflections on the last four months."

But he said he did not know whether Hart would answer "Nightline" host Ted Koppel's questions about the events that led to Hart's withdrawal.

Hart's former campaign manager, William Dixon, said two weeks ago that it was "likely" Hart would get back into the presidential race. But Shore would not speculate on that Tuesday, saying only that Hart will discuss his political plans on "Nightline."

Sources close to Hart said friends and advisers to Hart have debated for weeks which course he should take in an effort to rehabilitate his public career. Some have urged him to get back into the presidential race because polls still show him ranking higher than the eight other Democratic candidates.

Reentering the race would also allow Hart to qualify for federal campaign funds. He left the race with a debt of more than $1 million.

But other Hart friends have told him that if he gets back into the 1988 race he will hurt himself and the Democratic Party. These friends have urged him to apologize publicly to his supporters for letting them down and then start a long-term rehabilitation built around his considerable experience in national and international policy-making.

Hart, who was a Colorado senator from 1975 to 1987, will turn 51 in November.

Shore said Hart plans to join Koppel in "Nightline's" Washington studio.

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