- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 9, 2015

DENVER—Former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart publicly apologized Friday to newly elected Sen. Cory Gardner for making “disparaging comments” about him during last year’s hard-fought Senate campaign.

Mr. Hart, who serves as U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, said in a letter to the Denver Post that he regretted remarks made in October, when he blasted the Republican Gardner as a “conventional partisan” and a “consistent vote for a Tea Party dictated agenda.”

The Democrat Hart was infuriated by the Post’s surprise endorsement of Mr. Gardner over Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, saying the decision left him “dumbfounded and appalled.” The newspaper ran a searing Oct. 10 editorial that accused Mr. Udall of “trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them” with his “obnoxious one-issue campaign.”

“I continue to believe he [Udall] should have been re-elected,” said Mr. Hart in his letter. “However, in commending Udall, I also made disparaging comments about Gardner. That was uncharacteristic for me and contributed to the bitter partisanship now stalemating our government. I regret having done so.”

“Having made those written comments in a public forum, I now apologize publicly to Sen. Gardner for my comments,” Mr. Hart said.

The newspaper’s decision to back Mr. Gardner drew outrage from the left. Progressive groups MoveOn.org and NARAL Pro-Choice America delivered 13,000 signatures to the Post demanding that the editorial board rescind its endorsement.

Mr. Gardner defeated the Democratic incumbent by a margin of 48 to 46 percentage points in November.

Mr. Hart served two terms in the Senate before his ill-fated 1988 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, which crashed after reports that he had been having an extramarital affair.

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