RICHARD ANDREW GEPHARDT (born January 31, 1941) is an American
politician who served as a
United States Representative from Missouri
from 1977 to 2005. A member of the Democratic Party , he was House
Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995 and Minority Leader from 1995 to
2003. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for
President of the
United States in 1988 and 2004. Gephardt was
mentioned as a possible vice presidential nominee in 1988, 1992, 2000,
2004, and 2008.
Since his retirement from politics, Gephardt has become a significant
lobbyist . He founded a Washington-based public affairs firm, Gephardt
Government Affairs, and an Atlanta-based labor consultancy, the
Gephardt Group , as well as consulting for
DLA Piper , FTI Consulting
Goldman Sachs .
* 1 Early life
* 2 Political career
* 2.1 House of Representatives
* 2.2 1988 presidential campaign
* 2.3 House leadership
* 2.4 2004 campaign for president
* 3 Political views
* 4 Post-congressional career
* 5 Quotes
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Gephardt was born into a family in
St. Louis ,
Missouri , the son of
Loreen Estelle (née Cassell) and Louis Andrew Gephardt, a Teamster
milkman; part of his ancestry is German . He graduated from the
former Southwest High School in 1958. Gephardt is an Eagle Scout and
recipient of the
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts
of America . He earned his B.S. at
Northwestern University in 1962
where he was president of
Beta Theta Pi , the student senate, and his
freshman class. He earned his J.D. at the
University of Michigan
University of Michigan Law
School in 1965.
In 1965, he was admitted to the
Missouri Bar . He then entered the
Missouri Air National Guard , where he served until 1971.
He and his wife Jane have three grown children, Matt, Katie, and
Chrissy . His brother, Donald L. Gephardt, is the Dean of The College
of Fine and Performing Arts at
Rowan University in Glassboro, New
Gephardt was Democratic committeeman for the 14th ward in St. Louis
between 1968 and 1971, moving up to become 14th ward alderman between
1971 and 1976, as part of a group of young aldermen known informally
Young Turks ."
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
In 1976, Gephardt was elected to Congress from the St. Louis-based
3rd District, succeeding 24-year incumbent
Leonor Sullivan . He was
elected 13 more times, opting not to run for reelection in 2004. For
most of his Congressional career, Gephardt's National Political
Director was St. Louis-based political consultant
Joyce Aboussie .
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1988 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
Gephardt was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination
in the 1988 presidential election . Gephardt ran hard and early in
1987–88 and finally started moving ahead in
Iowa after running the
"Hyundai ad" that criticized what he thought were unfair trade
barriers by Korea and Japan. Gephardt won the
Iowa caucuses and South
Dakota primary in February while finishing a strong second in New
Hampshire which made him one of the serious contenders for the
His campaign ran out of money after losing badly in the March "Super
Tuesday " primaries, when he won only the
Missouri primary. An ad
aired by the campaign of Governor
Michael Dukakis focused on
Gephardt's "flip-flopping" voting record, and showed a Gephardt
look-alike doing forward and backward flips for the camera. Many felt
that the ad killed any chance Gephardt had of winning the nomination.
Gephardt dropped out after winning only 13% in Michigan, despite
support from the
United Auto Workers
United Auto Workers . Dukakis considered Gephardt for
his running mate, but chose
Lloyd Bentsen .
Portrait of Gephardt from the 1997 Congressional Pictorial
In part due to the visibility gained from his 1988 presidential bid,
Gephardt was elected majority leader by his House colleagues in June
1989, making him the second-ranking Democrat in the House, behind
Tom Foley . Gephardt served in that position until
After Foley was unseated in the Republican landslide of 1994 that
gave the Republicans a 52-seat majority, Gephardt became the leader of
the House Democrats, as minority leader , initially opposite Newt
Gingrich and then, from 1999 onwards,
Dennis Hastert . When Gingrich
faced a coup within his own party in 1997, there was a possibility of
Gephardt becoming Speaker if there had been a floor vote and he could
gain the support of Republican Congressman dissatisfied with Gingrich,
however Gingrich refused to resign and no vote occurred. In the 1996,
1998, and 2000 elections, Gephardt led the Democrats to gains in the
House, although they did not retake the majority until 2006, after
Gephardt had left Congress.
Gephardt was considered a keen politician who worked hard at passing
legislation, defending traditional Democratic principles, and for his
home district in St. Louis. He became a prolific financial supporter
of Democrats around the country in the early 1990s when he assembled a
team of top fundraising staff who helped him support hundreds of
candidates for local and federal office. Although Gephardt worked hard
for many of President
Bill Clinton 's programs, he and his union
supporters strongly opposed NAFTA and other "free trade" programs, so
Clinton required Republican support to pass these initiatives. During
the impeachment proceedings of President Clinton , Gephardt led a
walkout in the House after a censure motion was ruled irrelevant to
the impeachment debate. Gephardt speaking at a vigil for Matthew
Shepard in 1998
In 2000, Vice President
Al Gore named Gephardt to his short list of
possible vice presidential candidates. The other names on the short
list were then-Indiana Senator
Evan Bayh , then-North Carolina Senator
John Edwards , then-Massachusetts Senator
John Kerry ,
Joe Lieberman , and then-New Hampshire
Jeanne Shaheen . Gore eventually selected Lieberman.
In the 2002 Congressional midterm elections, Gephardt campaigned on
the issues of the economy and Social Security, however the continuing
resonance of the
September 11 attacks
September 11 attacks , the momentum for military
action against Iraq, and President
George W. Bush
George W. Bush 's popularity lead
to Republican gains, with the Democrats losing four House seats.
Harold Ford of
Tennessee described the results an "absolute blowout"
and called upon Gephardt to step down, saying that it was time for
"new ideas and new faces". Due to his previous success, it has been
said that Gephardt would have been easily returned as Minority Leader
if he decided to stay on. But Gephardt did not run for re-election
as House Minority Leader, stepping down in January 2003. His
leadership position was contested by the centrist
Martin Frost , the
outgoing Democratic Caucus Chair, and the liberal
Nancy Pelosi , the
Minority Whip, who was elected as Gephardt's successor. No longer
having Congressional leadership duties freed up Gephardt to
concentrate on a 2004 presidential bid.
2004 CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT
Dick Gephardt presidential campaign, 2004
Gephardt announced his second run for president on January 5, 2003.
His successor as Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, endorsed his bid for
president. His campaign was notable for the high-profile coming out of
his daughter Chrissy in People magazine, when she was helping him on
the campaign trail, a subject they also discussed in interviews for
the 2007 documentary film
For the Bible Tells Me So
For the Bible Tells Me So ; he has
continued to be an outspoken advocate for gay rights since the
campaign, though still opposes same-sex marriage .
Although Republicans considered him a formidable candidate, Gephardt
was seen by many as too old fashioned and unelectable. His
fundraising efforts were behind that of former
Vermont Governor Howard
Dean and Senators
John Kerry and
John Edwards , and tied with Joe
Lieberman . Furthermore, Gephardt's support of the Iraq War resolution
hurt him among liberal activists. Gephardt promoted a form of
universal health care , and was backed by 21 labor unions, but did not
have enough support to receive the endorsement of the
Supporters of Gephardt's campaign in 2003
Throughout early 2003, Gephardt was ahead in polling for the Iowa
caucus , but, by August, Dean had taken the lead; his campaign fueled
by anti-war activists. The Gephardt campaign was embarrassed by an
St Louis Post-Dispatch article that revealed that 11 of
33 "Gephardt team leaders" listed on his
Iowa campaign's web site were
actually supporting other candidates or neutral.
The race between Gephardt and Dean became negative, and took an ugly
turn in October when a Gephardt staffer reportedly pushed a Dean
staffer out of a meeting while calling him a "faggot ". Many press at
the event claimed the Dean staffer was picking a fight and that the
Gephardt staffer did not make the hurtful comment. Dean chairman Joe
Trippi (who had previously worked for Gephardt in 1988) and Gephardt
chairman Steve Murphy became involved in a war of words over that
incident, as well as Murphy's allegation that the Dean campaign was
bringing in out-of-state non-residents to participate in the caucus.
In the final days of the
Iowa campaign, both Dean and Gephardt faded
and ultimately finished third and fourth, respectively. Gephardt ended
his presidential campaign after that disappointing result.
After he dropped out of the presidential race, Gephardt was mentioned
as a possible running mate for
John Kerry . On March 7, 2004, New
Mexico Governor Bill Richardson , seen as a strong possibility for the
position himself, endorsed Gephardt for the Vice Presidency. "I think
he's the best candidate," Richardson said of Gephardt in an interview
Associated Press . "There's a good regional balance with
Kerry and Gephardt." Kerry announced on July 6, 2004, that he had
John Edwards as his running mate. On the same day, the New York
Post published an incorrect headline stating that Gephardt had become
Kerry's running mate. Shortly after this false story broke, the
headline was compared to the 1948 "
Dewey defeats Truman
Dewey defeats Truman " front page
Chicago Tribune , which incorrectly reported the presidential
election results of that year. In 2007, it was revealed in the book No
Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner by
Bob Shrum , who served
as Kerry's campaign adviser in the 2004 U.S. presidential election ,
that Kerry wanted to choose Gephardt as his nominee for vice president
but was convinced by Shrum and others to choose Edwards.
DICK GEPHARDT 2004 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN ENDORSEMENTS
* Former Senator
Jean Carnahan of
House Minority Leader
Nancy Pelosi of
House Minority Whip
Steny Hoyer of
* Former House Majority and Minority Whip
David Bonior of
Rob Andrews of
Howard Berman of
Sherrod Brown of
Lois Capps of
Ben Cardin of
Jerry Costello of
Jim Clyburn of
Chet Edwards of
Lane Evans of
Bart Gordon of
Gene Green of
Joe Hoeffel of
Tim Holden of
Patrick J. Kennedy of
Jim Langevin of
Nita Lowey of New York
Robert Matsui of
Karen McCarthy of
Mike McNulty of New York
Jack Murtha of
Dave Obey of
Ed Pastor of
Silvestre Reyes of
Dutch Ruppersberger of
Max Sandlin of
Ike Skelton of
John Spratt of
* Representative John Tanner of
* Former Representative Norman D\'Amours of
* Former Representative
Butler Derrick of
* Former Representative
Ed Feighan of
GOVERNORS AND LT. GOVERNORS
* Former Governor
Robert Evander McNair of
* Former Lieutenant Governor Bob Kerr III of
STATE LEGISLATURES LEADERS
New Hampshire House of Representatives Minority Leader Peter
Rhode Island House of Representatives Majority Leader
South Carolina Conference of Black Mayors
* American Maritime Officers
* International Association of Machinists
* International Brotherhood of Teamsters
* International Iron Workers Union
* International Longshoremen's Association
* International Union of Bricklayers
* Seafarer's International Union
* Transportation Workers Union
Since his election to the U.S. House in 1976, Gephardt's political
views gradually moved to the left . Originally, Gephardt was strongly
anti-abortion and was viewed as a social conservative . He was
initially extremely critical of the Supreme Court\'s landmark Roe v.
Wade ruling that legalized abortion. He wrote on the subject in 1984:
Life is the division of human cells , a process that begins with
conception . The (Supreme Court\'s abortion) ruling was unjust, and it
is incumbent on the Congress to correct the injustice... I have always
been supportive of pro-life legislation. I intend to remain steadfast
on this issue.... I believe that the life of the unborn should be
protected at all costs.
In 1987, when Gephardt decided to run for president, he announced
that he would no longer support legislation to restrict abortion
rights. He told the National
Right to Life Committee ; "I now do not
support any Constitutional amendment pertaining to the legality of
Gephardt's views on economic policy also changed over the years. He
Ronald Reagan 's tax cuts in 1981; in the 2000s, however, he
became a staunch opponent of similar tax cuts by President George W.
Bush , saying that the enormous surplus created during the
Bill Clinton should have been spent on health care
instead. Gephardt is widely viewed as an economic populist . He
supports universal health coverage, fair trade , and progressive
taxation . Although he once chaired the centrist Democratic Leadership
Council , Gephardt in his later years in Congress distanced himself
from the organization, finding his pro-labor views at odds with the
DLC's pro-business positions.
On October 10, 2002, Gephardt was among the 81 House Democrats who
voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq . He was an early
supporter of the war, and cosponsor of the authorization resolution.
However, three years later Gephardt said of his support for the war
that "It was a mistake ... I was wrong."
Gephardt speaking in 2009
On January 3, 2005, Gephardt's three-decade political career ended
with the expiration of his fourteenth term in the House of
Representatives. That month, Gephardt started a consulting and
lobbying firm, Gephardt Group, of which Gephardt is president and CEO.
Gephardt also joined the international law firm
DLA Piper as
strategic advisor in the government affairs practice group between
June 2005 and December 2009.
In his new role as a Washington lobbyist, Gephardt, on behalf of the
Republic of Turkey, has been actively lobbying against the House
resolution condemning the
Armenian genocide of 1915 in the Ottoman
Empire. While supportive of the resolution while in Congress, he now
contends that facts need to be better known before any position is
taken over this historical controversy.
Gephardt served on the board of directors of the Embarq Corporation
from June 2007 to July 1, 2009, when he became a member of the board
of directors of
CenturyLink , Embarq's successor corporation.
Gephardt also currently serves as a director of
Centene Corporation ,
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company ,
Spirit Aerosystems Holdings, Inc. , and United
States Steel Corporation . He joined the Ford's board in 2009.
In July 2007, Gephardt endorsed
Hillary Clinton 's campaign for
president , leading some to speculate that he was interested in
running for vice president in 2008.
DLA Piper become a major donor to
Clinton's campaign, donating about $190,000. Gephardt's name was
mentioned by the media during the summer of 2008 as a possible vice
presidential choice for eventual nominee Senator
Barack Obama .
A collection of Gephardt's congressional documents, dating from 1994
to 2004, was processed from 2006 to 2007 by the
Society for academic use, with a grant through the Institute of Museum
and Library Services . In 2005, Washington University in St. Louis
inaugurated the Richard A. Gephardt Institute of Public Service, which
promotes volunteerism and community activism. Since 2005, Gephardt has
been a consultant to
Goldman Sachs and
DLA Piper . Since 2007 he has
been a consultant to
FTI Consulting .
Since 2007, Gephardt began serving on the advisory board of the
Extend Health insurance company, and then became a member of its board
of directors. In 2009, Gephardt advised
UnitedHealth Group , one of
America's largest private insurers, in waging a strong campaign
against a public option for national health care.
In 2010, Gephardt was elected chair of the Board of Trustees of The
Scripps Research Institute , a nonprofit institute focusing on
Gephardt has also been significantly involved with the pharmaceutical
industry. In addition to a large lobbying contract with the Medicines
Company, Gephardt serves as chair of the Council for American Medical
Innovation (CAMI), formed by and affiliated with
PhRMA . In this
capacity he hired his own firm to lobby for the organization, to push
to extend patents and block generic drugs from the market.
Gephardt has also served as a lobbyist for
Boeing . He is a labor
consultant for Spirit Aerosystems and sits on its board of directors.
In these roles, Gephardt has presided over an aggressive anti-union
campaign that has bewildered many of his traditional political allies.
In July 2011, Spirit Aerosystems walked out of negotiations with the
union that represents its engineering, technical and professional
workforce. The union subsequently voted the company's last contract
offer receiving a 96.5% rejection vote. The company did not change its
contract offer significantly after this rejection and relations with
its workforce have been contentious ever since. With negotiations at a
standstill, production schedules for 2011 and 2012 are threatened.
* "I never felt it was inevitable that we had to go to war." — on
the invasion of Iraq
* "It's a great day for our troops, for this administration, for the
people of Iraq. My hope is that this will decrease the violence our
troops will have to face." — on the capture of
* "This president is a miserable failure on foreign policy and on
the economy and he's got to be replaced." — in a presidential debate
on September 4, 2003
* "I want to say a special thank you to every member of every labor
union in this country who has stood by my side... throughout my
career. Your fight is my fight, and it will always be that way." —
conceding defeat after winning no delegates in the
caucus of 2004
* "Politics is a substitute for violence." — at the 2004 Missouri
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