Saturday, February 21, 2004

OK FOLKS, here's how weird Kerry is...Mrs. Teresa Heinz Kerry (edited for emphasis)

Blunt and Influential, Kerry's Wife Is an X Factor

ATLANTA, Feb. 21 — In December 2002, when Teresa Heinz Kerry's husband, Senator John Kerry, came home from his physical boasting about his low cholesterol, she stared at his screening results for prostate cancer and saw trouble where he had not.

"He didn't know anything," she recalled. "He knew zero, zilch."

But Ms. Heinz Kerry, a physician's daughter who peruses medical journals and toxicology articles and is intrigued by alternative medicine and Eastern philosophy, knew enough to have her husband's blood retested for C-reactive protein, a little-known indicator of potentially cancerous inflammation. Two days before Christmas, his doctor told Mr. Kerry that his wife's fears were well placed; he was in the very early stages of prostate cancer.

On the campaign trail, she speaks in jarringly frank terms about dealing with grief and loss; she talks openly about distinctly un-Western modes of healing, which can leave her audiences as mystified as they are impressed.

In a move that was reminiscent of how Hillary Rodham Clinton became a lightning rod for her husband, the Republican National Committee on Friday sent journalists an e-mail message quoting Ms. Heinz Kerry comparing her husband to a "good wine," adding, "You know, it takes time to mature, and then it gets really good and you can sip it."

...At the time, there were juicy details about her Botox treatments and her prenuptial agreement, her Chanel shoes and her cashmere scarves. There was frequent mention of her inherited millions and the ketchup-red-and-white Gulfstream II — the most visible legacy of her 25-year marriage to Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania, who was killed in a plane crash in 1991.

But there is a more unusual and, her admirers say, more authentic side to Ms. Heinz Kerry's public persona that stands in sharp contrast to that of her husband.

Where Mr. Kerry, 60, is guarded and cautious, she is uninhibited, cursing in one of her five languages or musing aloud in accented English about why her husband of nearly nine years is so often called aloof. Where he appears stiff, she is spontaneous, dispensing unsolicited romantic advice to campaign workers and reporters. Where he can appear calculating, she comes across as guileless, trashing a profile of her in a major newspaper as a "dumb piece" by "a dumb person who wrote it."

..."That's nobody's business," she said when asked how often she had had Botox injections.

She pronounces herself ardently pro-choice, despite being a Roman Catholic, but in the next breath denounces the blunt language of some abortion rights advocates. "I'm old-fashioned," she said. "So I wouldn't use the phraseology of some people that say, `No, my body, I do what I want!' I find that kind of crude terminology, period."

...when he is speaking his wife often wears a pained, or even bored, expression. She says it is merely the look she gets when she is thinking deeply. Or she pleads shyness, saying Mr. Kerry's growing crowds at times have overwhelmed her.

"I love medicine," said Ms. Heinz Kerry. Her father wanted her to go to medical school, but "the only woman doctor I knew who had a child was divorced," she said. "I wanted to have children, be a mother, be a wife, and I felt there was no room to be a doctor." She has three grown sons from her marriage to Senator Heinz, and Mr. Kerry has two daughters from his previous marriage.

Her ideas about healing range far afield of Western science. She talks to bewildered audiences about tai chi, about "embracing the tiger" — a metaphor for dealing with loss or grief by confronting and accepting it. She quotes a "monk" — who turns out to be a meditation student she met at a spa — who urged her to "cry to Shiva, hold it, and then let it go."

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