Skip to comments.Naperville wife headed to White House? (Mrs. Jeri Kehn Thompson)
Posted on 09/06/2007 1:48:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Vicki Keller was on her way out the door Wednesday when she was asked about her son-in-law's imminent run for the White House.
"I don't know what there is to say, really," said the Naperville resident as she headed to Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, Ron. The couple planned to be with Jeri Kehn, Vicki's daughter, at midnight, when Kehn's husband, Fred Thompson, officially planned to become the newest addition to the GOP presidential race.
Although published reports said Kehn, 40, has been urging Thompson, 65, to toss his hat in the ring and is active behind the scenes, she has maintained a very low public profile in recent months, and has asked her parents to do the same. The couple, who were married in Naperville in 2002, have a preschool-aged daughter and an infant son at home outside Washington, D.C.
Destined for greatness
One local figure who knew Kehn years ago found her pretty fit for the role of first spouse back then. Even though she "seemed like a real normal kid," Robert Schillerstrom saw something special in the Naperville North High School student when he taught a Youth in Government class at the school in the early 1980s. "She was really smart, energetic - someone you really thought would go someplace," said Schillerstrom, chairman of the DuPage County Board and a Naperville attorney. "She was someone I was impressed by."
During her time at North, Kehn spent three years as a member of the esteemed, three-dozen-strong drill team, the Starlettes, who in her junior year clinched the statewide championship. In those days, she sported a Farrah Fawcett-style mane of cascading brunette waves.
Good for Naperville
Others who have followed Thompson's road to the race agreed Wednesday that the Kehn connection means that a victory for the former U.S. senator would surely affect Naperville.
Mayor George Pradel, who met the would-be first couple when they came to town for the rededication of the Doughboy statue in Burlington Park four years ago, recalled that no one seemed to know Thompson had served in the U.S. Senate for two terms; they recognized him only as District Attorney Arthur Branch, his stern persona in the "Law and Order" television series.
"He was just a super man, and she's so pretty," said Pradel, who added that he has spotted the couple in Washington since then, but "I was too shy to go over and say, 'Hey, I'm from Naperville.'"
He concurred with Schillerstrom's assessment that a Thompson presidency "would only be a good thing," saying the race will be exciting to watch.
"I think it would be wonderful for Naperville to have the president and first lady from Naperville," Pradel said. "They would bring a lot of notoriety to Naperville - good notoriety."
State Sen. Randy Hultgren thought so, too.
"The ties here would be excellent," said Hultgren, R-Wheaton, who until now has been holding off on giving his formal support to any of the current candidates for the party's nomination. He will give serious thought to backing Thompson, he said, and Kehn is one of the reasons for that.
"Naperville is a perfect spot to have a first lady from. It would be wonderful," Hultgren said. "One of the best places to live in the nation being Naperville, it would be a great thing to have someone in the White House who comes from here."
State Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, also met the candidate at the Doughboy re-dedication in 2003. Likening Thompson to "everybody's favorite uncle" in observations earlier this summer, Dillard gave his then-potential candidacy good chances for success.
"Certainly Fred Thompson is a household name, and a very serious and viable candidate for president," he said. "It's exciting, just like it's exciting to have Napervillians on 'American Idol' or 'The Apprentice,' to have Sen. Thompson's wife come from Naperville."
Gayl Ferraro, chairwoman of the Democratic Party in DuPage County, said Kehn's impact on the campaign locally probably will hinge on how extensively she is involved in it.
"It may draw in some people to support him statewide," Ferraro said. "I don't hear a lot of Republicans talking about who they're supporting. If they step up ... it may pull in some of the Jeri Kehn support.
As for Naperville, Ferraro agrees the campaign is good for the city.
"If they were going to focus on Illinois, I would think (Naperville) would be a good spot to do it," Ferraro said.
For the past three months, national voter polls have shown the 65-year-old Thompson running second to former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who opened a fully staffed campaign office Aug. 22 in Lisle.
Thompson is competing for conservative votes in a field of Republicans who don't seem very strong right now, said Steve Caliendo, associate professor of political science at North Central College. Depending on how conservatively he casts himself, Thompson may or may not do well among Naperville voters who tend to hold moderate views on social issues such as abortion and gay rights, Caliendo said.
"It seems like some conservatives worry that he is not conservative enough," he said. "If that is true, he might do very well in DuPage County."
Naperville would become a first lady's hometown if a presidential win landed Thompson and his wife, Kehn, in the White House. While that probably wouldn't translate into extra federal money for projects in Naperville, it would shine a spotlight on the city, Caliendo said.
"I do think there will be an overarching theme of recognition for Naperville across the country," he said.
I do not want to see that Hollywood premiere photo of Jeri Kehn and her cleavage (along with that guy on her arm) posted on this thread.
Thank you. Neither do I. I think I know the one you mean. She looks a little tawdry in it, and it’s been worrying me that she may be a detriment if she really looks that way in the real world.
I’m all for having a Naperville native in the White House, for a number of reasons — not the least of which is that if we have a Naperville native there, we won’t have a Park Ridge native there.
Yes. Precisely. That's what I meant. Tawdry.
No tawdry Jeri Kehn photos, please.
I’ve been curious. Do you happen to know how old that photo is? I think it’s the only pic I’ve seen of her, and I thought maybe it was being circulated just to make her (and him) look bad.
Fred Thompson & Jeri Thompson
Event: Bloomberg News Afterparty
Venue: Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia, Washington D.C. United States
Date: April 29th, 2006
Description: Fred Thompson and Jeri Thompson Bloomberg News Afterparty Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia Washington D.C., United States April 29, 2006 Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com
Yep. That’s the one.
Very nice photos folks.
It's in Du Page County which abuts Daley's Crook (er...Cook) County to the west.
Du Page County is conservative Republican for over a hundred years.......and a beautiful county because it's never been in the ruination hands of 'Rats.
It's a hi-tech county with Fermi Lab, Bell Labs and other notable companies. It has a superior education system with several colleges including the one the Rev. Billy Graham attended.
It has little welfare and a hardworking populace of lots of German, Alsace Lorraine, Irish and Czech descendants. It contains the home district of conservative Republican and congenial singer of Irish ditties, Cong. Henry Hyde.
It's nonsense to ask stupid questions about whether Mrs. Fred Thompson will wear extreme cleavage now that her husband is a candidate. She's a highly-educated woman, smart and was a media and campaign consultant in the highest DC political levels. Plus, her roots in a conservative home area is a danged good thing!
The good folks in Naperville and Du Page County will be proud to call Jeri their own.
How dumb is it to think she won't dress conservatively now that her spouse is running for a high office. And isn't it dumb to think that she's that dumb?
she’s a bit wall eyed, isn’t she !
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.