Teresa Heinz Kerry: Shove It

Kevin Drum calls attention to Teresa Heinz Kerry’s latest embarrassing comment:

Teresa Heinz Kerry urged her home-state delegates to the Democratic National Convention to restore a more civil tone to American politics, then minutes later told a newspaperman to “shove it.”

“We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics,” she told her fellow Pennsylvanians at a Sunday night reception at the Massachusetts Statehouse. Minutes later, Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned her on exactly what she meant by the term “un-American,” according to a tape of the encounter recorded by WTAE Channel 4 Action News. Heinz Kerry said “I didn’t say that” several times to McNickle. She then turned to confer with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others. When she faced McNickle again a short time later, he continued to question her, and she replied, “You said something I didn’t say. Now shove it.”

So, he called her on an outrageous comment, she claims see didn’t say it, and pops off in a manner not associated with the idealized model of First Lady.

Kevin notes that there are extenuating circumstances:

The “reporter” in question was Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. If you want to know why Mrs. Kerry might have a beef with Mr. McNickle, you can read part of the answer here: the Tribune-Review editorial page has been on a disgusting and dishonest jihad against the Heinz Endowments for nearly a year. He’s lucky that a fleeting tonguelashing is all he got.

The link goes to an official statement from the Heinz Endowment, which begins:

In recent weeks, The Heinz Endowments has been accused of using its funding of the Tides Center of Western Pennsylvania to advance a laundry list of partisan causes and fringe political groups. This accusation is simply wrong.

It originated in an opinion column written by a researcher for the conservative, Washington, D.C.-based Capital Research Center. The crux of CRC’s argument is that money directed by the Endowments to Tides is “fungible.” By supporting projects through Tides, CRC alleged that Heinz has secretly funneled money to every other organization that has ever received funding through Tides Center and the separate Tides Foundation. Since first being published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, CRC’s accusation has been picked up and expanded in opinion pieces in a number of newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and the Washington Times. But not even these publications have leveled this allegation in actual news stories.

First, by legally binding contract, every penny of Heinz̢۪s support to Tides has been explicitly directed to specific projects in Pennsylvania. It cannot legally be redirected and is the exact opposite of fungible.

Now, given that these charges have not made it to my radar screen by now, despite rather wide reading, I’m presuming that there is very little substance to them. That said, the author clearly does not understand the meaning of the word “fungible.” If an organization is engaged in both legitimate and nefarious activities, money that goes to the organization helps it conduct nefarious activities, even if it is used to fund legitimate activities, because it thereby frees up money that would otherwise have been used for the legitimate activities for nefarious activities. This is the argument that we’ve used to shut down American donations to Islamist groups like Hamas, that both engage in honest charitable work and mass murder.

As to the incident itself, it may well be in the same category as the Adam Clymer comment in the 2000 campaign, Cheney’s famous exchange with Pat Leahy, and other such miscues: inappropriate, unhelpful, but probably justified. Given the steady stream of such incidents from Mrs. Kerry, though, it’s rather clear that she is a loose cannon, much more prone to saying things to embarrass her husband than any nominee’s wife in my memory. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It partly reflects the changing role of women in society and, in this case, that she’s an incredibly wealthy woman who is not used to being challenged. One would certainly not guess from her demeanor, however, that she has been the wife of two Senators for a period totalling nearly 35 years.

Michele Malkin saw this coming months ago.

Update (0955): Drudge has a video.

Update (1023): Dodd Harris reminds us of the Asses of Evil.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Media, , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. erg says:

    I would suggest reading the whole statement by the Heinz foundation. The foundation uses this organization for administering these grants. Such money is indeed very much tied to a project, because it wouldn’t have gone to Tides in any other case.
    It need hardly be mentioned that comparing Tides to Hamas is way out of line in any case.

    The fact that these accusations haven’t made it to the news pages speaks for itself.

  2. Wind Rider says:

    I popped over into Drum’s comments, and the guffawing and backslapping at his smear of the guy posing the question has run out to almost 100 comments now.

    But neither Drum, nor any of the revelers, bother to wonder that we still don’t have an answer to the original question – what did she mean by un-American?

    Shooting the questioner, and devining what she meant via telepathy (or possibly a Ouija board) doesn’t solve the riddle either.

    It was obvious what Bush menat with the Clymer comment.

    Cheney’s meaning was pretty straightforward, too.

    In fact, those incidents weren’t in response to a question…and a pretty straightforward question, at that. What did she mean by ‘un-American’?

    Seems these minor points always seem to get lost in the noise somehow.

  3. My earlier comment seems not to have made it, so:

    If you look through here, you’ll find the Tides story appearing in the [ominous-music]Scaife-funded or Scaife-associated[/ominous-music] NyPost and Front Page Mag.

    I personally told Judy Woodruff and her producer about the THK-Ken Lay link, as described here.

    And, surely, the fact that stories like this don’t make it to the non-liberal media speaks for itself.