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Remember the Monkey Business? McCain Is History!
Soon after meeting Rice, Hart announced his candidacy for President of the United States
Jul. 23, 2008 12:30 PM
(February 21, 2008) - The New York Times quoted anonymous aides as saying they had urged McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman to stay away from each other prior to his failed presidential campaign in 2000. In its own follow-up story, The Washington Post quoted longtime aide John Weaver, who split with McCain last year, as saying he met with lobbyist Iseman and urged her to stay away from McCain.
Donna Rice Hughes (born January 7, 1958) was a figure in the 1987 sex scandal that ended the first 1988 presidential campaign of Gary Hart. Since the mid-1990s, she has worked as an anti-pornography activist.
The daughter of a highway engineer and secretary, Rice lived in Florida, Atlanta, and South Carolina. A self-described over-achiever, she began a modeling career at age 13 and worked at getting straight A's in high school while attending church and working in clothing stores. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1980, where she was both an honors student and cheerleader. Her senior year, though, she says "I began to compromise my Christian values—partying and dating guys who weren't Christians." After graduating college, she stopped attending church, and was raped by an older man she was dating, but was too ashamed to tell anyone. She says the rape was "the turning point in my life, the catalyst that propelled me further into an unhealthy lifestyle.". After winning the Miss South Carolina World beauty pageant, she went to New York City to compete in the national event. She did not win, but remained in New York and pursued an acting and modeling career. In 1982, she moved to Miami, worked as a television actress, and for a pharmaceutical company and a small marketing business. It wasn't until March 1987 that she first met former senator Gary Hart at a Miami fundraiser.
Photo of Donna Rice sitting on the knees of Gary Hart on the yacht Monkey Business, the climactic image that ended Hart's first 1988 presidential campaign.
Soon after meeting Rice, Hart announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Having put up a surprisingly strong fight in 1984 against the eventual nominee, former Vice President Walter Mondale, he was perceived as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 1988. But rumors quickly began circulating about Hart's infidelity to his wife, leading the candidate to challenge the media to follow him around and saying that anybody who did so would "be very bored." The day before that dare appeared in The New York Times, two reporters for the Miami Herald observed Rice coming out of Hart's Washington, DC townhouse and published the story on the day the dare appeared in print. Hart contended that the reporters had no way of knowing when Rice arrived or what she was doing there, but his popularity still took a major hit, and polls immediately found him 10 points behind Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis. Two days after the story broke, the Herald obtained photographs of Rice sitting in Hart's lap in Bimini aboard a motor yacht called Monkey Business. The National Enquirer published the photographs, and just five days later, Hart dropped out of the race.
As a result of the scandal, Rice lost her job as a marketing representative for a pharmaceutical company in South Florida. However other offers flowed in; she refused most, including a Playboy appearance, but worked as a national spokesmodel for No Excuses jeans until Hart's unsuccessful re-entry into the presidential race in December 1987.
After the Scandal
Rice met her future husband, Jack Hughes, on a blind date in 1991, and they married in May 7, 1994.
From 1994 to 1999, she worked as Communications Director and Vice President of "Enough Is Enough", a nonprofit organization dedicated to stopping pornography, assisting victims, and making the Internet safe for children. In 1999, Rice Hughes was appointed by then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) to a congressional panel. As of 2005, she is the volunteer president of "Enough is Enough" and has co-written a book entitled Kids Online: Protecting Your Children in Cyberspace (ISBN 0-8007-5672-X).