Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste, who is considering a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that a newspaper article this week linking him romantically to three women other than his wife will not affect his decision.
The article Wednesday in the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that "close advisers" of Celeste fear womanizing could become an issue for him if he runs for president. The article quoted unidentified sources as saying Celeste, 49, had been involved with the three women since the early 1970s, most recently in 1985. The women were not identified.
Celeste responded that questions about his personal life are inappropriate. "Twenty-five years ago, Dagmar and I made a choice to get married for better and for worse . . . , " Celeste said at a news conference. "I believe our personal lives are just that. It's between me and Dagmar, between me and my kids . . . . That's where I intend to keep it."
Dagmar Celeste said, "I feel that the greatest gift you can give if you love somebody is forgiveness . . . . I think the press as well as we are learning what is appropriate and what is not appropriate -- the specifics, the details, the whens, the hows, the whats -- I think that's between me and him."
In a statement, Plain Dealer publisher and editor Thomas Vail said: "We have been working on this story for some time and decided to publish after the governor told a news conference on Monday that he did not have a 'Gary Hart-type personal problem.' "
Most of Ohio's major Democratic officeholders have refused to comment on the political consequences for Celeste. But Cuyahoga County GOP Commissioner Robert Hughes said, "The Plain Dealer article has made the governor's personal life an issue. Therefore, it will affect his possible candidacy."