Spiced Ketchup

Writing in Newsweek, Melinda Henneberger thinks Kerry has a Secret Weapon: His wife Teresa (Tuh-RAY-suh).

Just before Democratic presidential contender John Kerry takes the stage at a recent fund-raiser in New York, his wife folds her arms around him and, as they canoodle for just a second, whispers some quick instructions about what he should do with his hands while addressing the crowd. Asked about the coaching later, she doesn’t hesitate to repeat what she told him: “I was reminding him that there are some movements he makes that are very inviting and some that are—forceful.” Oh? “Inviting: think the Italians,” she says, giggling—warm, alive, fully animated. “And not: well, Hitler. That would be the extreme,” she adds, and laughs again, presumably at herself for breaking one of the simpler rules for political wives: never mention your husband and the fuhrer in the same sentence.

A good rule!

Kerry’s no-nonsense campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, has confided to friends that she’s slightly unnerved by his wife’s candor. And when Cahill tells me, “She’s great with women and children in small groups,” it’s hard not to hear that as: we’d lock her in a closet if we could.


Her loose talk is perhaps particularly high risk in these wildly polarized times, when anything can become fodder for the culture wars. Unless, of course, the political handlers have it all wrong, and should get her out in front as soon as possible. Not only could Teresa charm the faithful, but she could work crucial swing states where her moderate politics might win over voters if they could be convinced that Kerry, who’s struggling at the moment, would give his Rockefeller Republican wife a voice in the White House.

Color me skeptical.

She seems nice enough, though. And this type of thing would certainly shake things up a bit:

On the subject of abortion, she says, “My belief—and I maybe am very wrong—is that women, generally speaking, do not want to have abortions. With the exception of people who are mindless—and there will always be mindless people of both sexes—most women wouldn’t want to.

A mind is, after all, a terrible thing to waste. Unless you’re mindless, I guess.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor 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. So, having a mind is a prerequisite to wasting it. Makes sense to me.

    What about those who have half a mind?

  2. Kate says:

    That’s no the first rather garbled quotes from her. I think they might consider a recurirng bout of larengitis…

  3. Attila Girl says:

    The media really want this to be all about her: “That crazy broad lost us this election.”

    No. Her crazy fucking husband did. The Waffle King.