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Gary Hart: Party Politics At The Palm

By Sally Giddens |

In the afterglow of Gary Hart’s withdrawal from the drive for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination, the Dallas rumor mill began to pump out its own Gary-does-Dallas story.

On October 24, 1986, then-Senator Hart and his entourage of politicos were in Dallas prospecting for support for Hart’s presidential bid and socializing with the revelers gathered in the West End to see the green lights relit at InterFirst Plaza. Carl Wolfsberger, one of the more dapper doers of the Dallas club circuit, and his foursome- which included two lovely ladies who used to work for Jan Nobel Realtors, Camille Thomas and Kathy Bagby-invited Hart and his supporters for a bite at The Palm. The place was closed, but Wolfsberger, a Palm regular, persuaded the manager to unbar the doors and part the way for Hart’s entrance.

That evening, Hart was wearing a conservative suit with his senate credentials displayed on his lapel. Wolfsberger was wearing a smart white dinner jacket and a hot pair of sunglasses.

“I put on his suit coat and he put on my dinner jacket and sunglasses,” Wolfsberger says. “Then I went around doing my best Gary Hart imitation, and he started saying he was Don Johnson.” Wolfsberger adds that Hart gave his tie to another female patron and insists that none of the switching took place in the restroom, as early rumors had it.

Later. Wolfsberger says. Hart asked Thomas and Bagby to go back to his jet and fly the friendliest of skies to Denver with him. Wolfsberger says the women weren’t interested. Then Hart asked Wolfsberger if he wanted to accompany the group to Colorado, but he declined.

“I’m a born and bred Republican,” Wolfsberger says, “but I have to say, I liked the guy. He sure has a knack for putting himself in ill-fated positions, though.”