Woman Says She's Tipster Who Destroyed Gary Hart

Dana Weems says she clued in newspaper about presidential candidate's dalliances
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2014 12:14 PM CDT
Woman Says She's Tipster Who Destroyed Gary Hart
Former US Sen. Gary Hart speaks during funeral services for former Democratic US senator and three-time presidential candidate George McGovern on Oct. 26, 2012.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, Pool)

More than 25 years ago, Gary Hart's presidential campaign came to a screeching halt after a Miami Herald article investigating his supposed extramarital affairs and a photo of Hart with 29-year-old model Donna Rice sitting on his lap were published. Now, after years of speculation—and refusal by the Herald political reporter to ID the caller who initially filled him in on the photo—a Florida woman admits she's the one who phoned the Herald and also let the paper know that Rice was going to visit Hart in DC, the New York Times reports. Rice herself tells the Times that she thought former friend Dana Weems was somehow behind the leak, along with another pal, Lynn Armandt—and when Times writer Matt Bai called Weems, she reportedly sighed, then replied, "Yeah. That was me." (She also claims Armandt was standing next to her when she made the call, listening in.)

The Herald story, photo, and ensuing scandal forced Hart to drop out of the running for the Democratic nomination (though the Washington Post disputes Bai's assertion that "Hart was as close to a lock for the nomination—and likely the presidency—as any challenger of the modern era"). Weems, who has health issues from multiple sclerosis and now sells raincoats online, says Hart was actually enchanted with her—not Rice—and that Rice pursued Hart because she wanted to be famous, while Hart's philandering behavior (especially the thought of him getting away with it and becoming president) made Weems "sick to her stomach." She also tells the Times that she can't believe her secret has been safe all these years and that she was "sorry to ruin [Hart's] life. I was young. I didn't know it would be that way." (Read the entire Times story here.)

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