From remarks by Bruce Babbitt in Chicago on Dec. 17:

Gary Hart has every right to get back into this race. But I must tell you, I don't much like his pretext. Mr. Hart is going around saying he feels bound to run because nobody else is addressing the vital issues of the day. I resent that. It seems to me that Gary Hart has a hell of a long way to go before he has anything to teach this candidate about grappling with hard choices and standing up for the truth.

. . . Gary Hart's only answer {to the budget deficits} is not a new idea, it's an old idea -- and it's a lousy idea. He calls for a $10-a-barrel oil import fee. That is bad tax policy and bad energy policy, both for the same reason: an oil import fee is primarily a subsidy to big oil companies. Americans would pay $56.9 billion more for oil each year, of which two-thirds ($37.6 billion) would go to the oil companies. Some $16.8 billion would go to just eight companies alone: Exxon, Standard Oil, Arco, Texaco, Shell, Chevron, Amoco and Mobil.

It isn't enough to say you have a "vision for the future." You have to have real answers.

. . . Gary Hart says he got out of the race because of the failures of the media and that he's getting back into the race because of the failures of the other candidates. He's wrong on both counts.

If this weren't so serious, it would be funny. If it weren't so funny, it would be serious.

If Mr. Hart thinks he owns the franchise on new ideas in America, he's mistaken. If he thinks the American people or the other candidates are waiting to be educated by him, he's kidding himself. If he thinks I'll stand by while he tries to rewrite the story of this campaign, he better think again.

Gary Hart is a smart man who has something to offer to the world of ideas. But maybe not as much as he thinks.