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Reporter who helped sink Gary Hart's presidential run joining Booker campaign
The journalist who helped sink Democrat Gary Hart's surging presidential campaign in 1987 is joining the 2020 campaign of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).
Thomas Fiedler, one of three reporters who broke the story on Hart's extramarital affair with Donna Rice in November 1987 for the Miami Herald, will leave his position as dean of Boston University's College of Communication to work for Booker, who is lagging in the polls at 3.2 percent in the RealClearPolitics index as he seeks the Democratic nomination for president.
"I feel a gamble in that in some ways being a journalist is a safe space; you can always claim objectivity or neutrality. So I'm crossing that line," Fiedler told the university's newspaper, BU Today in an interview published Wednesday. "But at the same time, I also think it's liberating. I will be able to say: this is what I believe. This is what I feel."
Fiedler added that Booker, one of 23 candidates seeking the party nomination to take on President Trump in 2020, aligns most with his own worldview.
"I think [Booker] embodies all the qualities of the candidate that I'm looking for," he said. "What I was not looking for in this race was to work for a candidate who I think has enjoyed all the privileges of being a white male."
White men, he said, "don't need my help. Society has helped them well enough along the way."
Hart was enjoying a double-digit lead over the rest of the Democratic field when he was dropped out of the presidential race in 1987, according to Gallup polling at the time.
He also held a comfortable lead in a hypothetical matchup with then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, who easily captured the Republican party nomination in 1988. Hart, a Colorado senator who was 50 at the time, was beating Bush by 13 points, with just 11 percent of registered voters polled saying they were undecided.
"Personal conduct, even in comparison to 1987, which was when the Gary Hart scandal broke, is so much more important," Fiedler told BU Today. "In this era of social media, the spotlight is never off, and it can grow intensely and very, very hot very, very quickly, much more than it would have back in that time. So the idea of the importance of comporting yourself, I think, with dignity and appropriately is extremely high."