Skip to comments.Teresa on the Stump, Teresa Heinz Kerry, from Mozambique, PRO-ABORTION Catholic, UN Enmployee, etc.
Posted on 02/01/2004 5:54:01 PM PST by Coleus
|Teresa on the Stump|
|Mrs. Kerry is worth a fortune, but her real value to the campaign is her bluntness|
|By KAREN TUMULTY|
Posted Sunday, February 1, 2004
Santa Fe, N.M., has its share of hangouts for the megarich. The Guadalajara Grill, a strip-mall café decorated with balloons in the shape of beer bottles, isn't one of them. But places like that are part of the territory if your husband is running for President. That is how Teresa Heinz Kerry, conservatively estimated to be worth $500 million or so, happened to find herself there last Friday afternoon, inhaling the heavy aroma of frying tortillas and trying to persuade a mixed group of 30 Democrats, including some undecideds and former Deanites, to vote for her husband. Nearly two hours into it, she had just about wrapped up when a latecomer arrived. Not wanting to miss a single potential supporter, Teresa took Francesca Lobato aside and started all over again, spending an additional half an hour answering her questions about education, taxes and health care. By the time Teresa was finished, she had converted even restaurant owner Pedro Solis, who was waiting tables and running the cash register.
Although Teresa has made countless campaign stops like thishaving twice been married to lanky, blue-blooded, Yale-educated Senators named Johnvery little about her fits the stereotype of the political wife. Not even Hillary Clinton strayed so far from the dutiful, adoring Stepford spouse as Teresa. She has the independence that comes with a personal fortune and one of the nation's biggest philanthropies, a life story that sounds like a screenplay and a bluntness that could never be scripted.
As dogged and earnest as she is when she is campaigning for Kerry on her own, Teresa (pronounced Tuh-ray-za), 65, does not function nearly so well as a prop. Onstage beside her husband during yet another recitation of his stump speech, she stands with her wavy hair falling over her eyes, looking preoccupied or, worse, bored. Only recently did she begin using Kerry's last name, switch her party registration from Republican and quit referring to the late Senator Heinz in the present tense as "my husband." She still has a tendency to volunteer what another political spouse might lie abouther Botox shots, her prenuptial agreement, what she would do if she ever caught her husband cheating and the fact that Kerry was in the bathroom when he found out he had won the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
All of which is why voters don't quite know what to make of her. To some, she brings a badly needed dose of authenticity and passion to a candidate who struggles to convey both. "I don't understand Kerry, but I'm nuts about her, because she talks about health care and children's issues," says Eileen Waterman, 57, a nurse in Albuquerque, N.M. To others, she embodies everything that doesn't work about Kerry. Baer Woodrum, who runs a Shoney's in Aiken, S.C., says he can't imagine Kerry doing well in this Tuesday's primary, in part because "his wife, I hear she's really ..."he pauses to find a polite word"Northeastern."
Actually, she hails from just about as far south as you can go: the southeastern edge of Africa. Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira grew up in the capital of Mozambique, a city now called Maputo but then known as Lourenco Marques. The daughter of a Portuguese doctor, she was part of a pampered colonial class, playing tennis on the grass lawns of private clubs and spending her days sipping tea and coffee with her friends. One of the country's best-known painters, Malangatana Valente, recalls serving "Terezinha" when he worked as a waiter in a coffee shop. "She was always smiling and talking to everyone nicely," says Malangatana. "She was always a happy girl."
But when she went on calls with her father into the bush, where people would gather before sunrise to await them, Teresa saw what were the grim realities of life for most people in the country. To swim at dawn or dusk was to risk malaria; the slightest malady, left untreated, could become a death sentence. And she knew the menacing side of even a privileged existence under a dictatorship. Her father wouldn't let his criticisms of the government's repressive economic and racial policies go beyond the family dinner table. She went away to college in South Africa, where a classmate from the University of Witwatersrand recalls her as a devout Catholic who attended early-morning Mass at the university chapel on most days. She also marched with the nascent antiapartheid movement, giving her worried mother "a fit," Teresa says.
It's her outsider's view of America that captivates the crowds in places like the Ruby Elephant Coffee Shop in Kalona, Iowa. "People die around the world wanting to have freedom of speech and the right to vote," she told them. "The idea of Americamore than geography or more than a flag, evenwhen you are far away, is an idea of possibility. It's an idea of hope. It's an idea of trust. It's an idea of trying and succeeding if you want to." She is a halting, sincere speaker, and even when she has a microphone, you have to strain to hear her. But those very qualities are what draw listeners in.
Teresa came by her fortune with her marriage to Heinz, the heir to the Pittsburgh, Pa., ketchup-and-pickle conglomerate, whom she met when she was studying at the University of Geneva to be an interpreter. (She's fluent in five languages.) Heinz told her his family made soup back in the States. She still calls him "the love of my life." When Heinz died in a 1991 plane crash, she turned down a chance to run for his Senate seat and poured her energy instead into refocusing how the Heinz family's philanthropic network deploys its $2 billion in assets. One of her primary causes is the environment. When she was serving as a delegate to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, she struck up a friendship with one of the other delegates, to whom her husband had once introduced her on the Senate stepsand three years later, she and John Kerry were married at her house on Nantucket.
As Kerry rails about "George Bush and his economy of privilege," his wife flies across the country in a ketchup-red-and-white jet sporting "57" as part of its tail number. But there is also an earthiness to Teresa. During a flight with a TIME correspondent a few years ago, she had eggs from her Pennsylvania farm carted aboard and scrambled them herself in the cramped galley of the plane, whistling Give My Regards to Broadway and making bawdy jokes about her chickens. "I think she'd be quite extraordinary as First Lady," Kerry says.
It took a while for him to convince her of thator that it was worth it to try. She went for long walks in the summer of 2002 near her place in Sun Valley to turn over the possibility in her mind. "I actually told him on the phone that I was coming to a place where I accepted it," she told TIME. "Then, as you get involved in the campaigning, you get excited about the idea of really helping people. Before, it was just theoretical. Now, my bones get sore, but my mind is stoked."
With reporting by Cathy Booth Thomas/Santa Fe, Douglas Waller with Kerry, Simon Robinson/Johannesburg and Emmanuel Camillo/Maputo
Portuguese by birth, she was raised in Africa and educated in Switzerland. Spontaneous and independent of mind; candid and direct to the point of being impolitic, she is like her husband, a pro-choice Roman Catholic. And she is independently wealthy, to the tune of $550 million, from her first marriage to the late senator John Heinz, heir to the ketchup fortune. She remains a power in her own right as head of the Howard Heinz Endowment and Heinz Family Philanthropies, a charity with a billion-dollar endowment that gives away millions each year to environmental, educational and health causes.
It is a shared passion for the environment that brought John Kerry and Teresa Heinz together. They met at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, where she had been sent as delegate by the first President Bush. That was 12 months after John Heinz, a potential presidential candidate himself, died in a plane crash. She and Kerry subsequently bonded after he recited a prayer - in Latin - at a Mass they both attended.
The daughter of a prominent Portuguese doctor, Heinz Kerry, née Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira, grew up in Mozambique. She attended a school run by British nuns, and later studied Romance languages at senior school in South Africa, where she became involved in the nascent anti-apartheid movement of the late 1950s. At university in Geneva, she was a classmate of Kofi Annan at the city's School of Interpreters. Now fluent in five languages, she graduated and went to New York to become an interpreter at the United Nations, before marrying Heinz in 1966. 'I had no ambition,' she once said. 'I thought of myself as being married and having children, which is what all the ladies did.'
That's no longer the case, if it ever was. When the results in New Hampshire come in on Tuesday night, Mrs Heinz Kerry may become a singularly important figure. 'It's not an easy choice to do this, and she feels it is important,' says spokeswoman Christine Anderson. 'But she doesn't want to be involved in policy per se or hold an official job. She would rather keep working on the issues she cares about. She wants to keep her job to run the Heinz Endowments, and she would keep doing that if she were First Lady.'
Those who know her well say she is generous to a fault and, for someone who could easily have everything done for her, is well able to look after herself. 'She's a powerhouse in her own right, not just a plus-one,' says her god-daughter and Vogue magazine writer Jill Kargman. 'She has her own causes and, instead of just standing beside him, she can get up and captivate an audience as well as any politician. She doesn't have an agenda, or secret political aspirations of her own; she just truly wants to make the world a better place.'
In doing so, Mrs Heinz Kerry is not afraid to speak her mind. With the perspective of an admiring foreigner, she often speaks of the demise of America's reputation abroad. 'I understand why so many of our friends around the world are so mad at us,' she said at a recent event. 'We have let them down. In a democracy, the one thing that cannot be done is to destroy its trust, its hope, its idealism. This administration is the most cynical, the most venal, the most Machiavellian administration in my 32 years in Washington.'
At the start of John Kerry's campaign, Democratic strategists were not sure if Teresa Heinz Kerry would be an asset or a liability. Some predicted she would help soften the stiff and awkward public image her husband had acquired; others feared she would prove too contemporary and sophisticated, her Chanel heels too high to appeal to the stay-at-home wives of the Mid-West.
And there were incidents that alarmed her husband's handlers. Asked if he still had nightmares of combat, Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, said he hadn't. His wife said otherwise, and mimicked him having a flashback. 'Down, down, down!' she screamed. And there were minor breaches of Beltway etiquette. In an Elle magazine profile, she enthused about her Botox treatments, the benefits of green tea and her late husband, John Heinz III, to whom she was still referring as 'my husband'.
She was reported as fidgeting while Senator Kerry made speeches, of interrupting him, of failing to gaze at him adoringly in the accepted manner. On the subject of marital fidelity, she said: 'I used to say to my husband, my late husband, "If you ever get something, I'll maim you. I won't kill you. I'll maim you".' And asked whether she would take her husband's name, she shot back: 'Politically, it's going to be Teresa Heinz Kerry, but I don't give a shit, you know? There are other things to worry about.' And she added: 'Swearing is a good way to relieve tension'.
The joke in Republican circles goes that every time the couple, who are sometimes known as 'Cash and Kerry', retire to bed, Kerry is fundraising. In fact, under campaign finance law, individual donations are capped at $2,000. When the Kerry campaign was floundering last autumn. it was Kerry who mortgaged his Boston townhouse to raise money and has said he won't spend any Heinz money on a campaign - and she says she won't offer it - unless the Bush campaign engages in 'character assassination'.
Democratic strategists say they would not want to turn her into a robotic Stepford Wife even if they could. Consultant Hank Sheinkopf believes Heinz Kerry could help close the gender gap in US politics and get out the female vote - indeed, the size of Kerry's win in Iowa last week was predicated on women voting for him. In so far as Heinz Kerry helped in that win, it bodes well for gaining support in key swing states that Democrats must win to carry the election - Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. 'We're not living in 1955 anymore and she can typify and force the turn-out of women on the issues women are interested in, like healthcare, education and the environment.'
Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira, grew up in Mozambique. She attended a school run by British nuns, and later studied Romance languages at senior school in South Africa, where she became involved in the nascent anti-apartheid movement of the late 1950s. At university in Geneva, she was a classmate of Kofi Annan at the city's School of Interpreters. Now fluent in five languages, she graduated and went to New York to become an interpreter at the United Nations, before marrying Heinz in 1966. 'I had no ambition,' she once said. 'I thought of myself as being married and having children, which is what all the ladies did.'
Teresa Heinz Kerry
DoB: 5 October 1938 (Mozambique)
Education: BA, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Family: Two stepdaughters, three sons from her marriage to John Heinz
Jobs: Interpreter, United Nations; chair, the Howard Heinz Endowment
Together, the Kerry's have five children; his two daughters and her three sons.
Was he widowed too, divorced?? Annulment???
Together, the Kerry's have five children; his two daughters and her three sons. Was he widowed too, divorced?? Annulment???
She always has that piece of cloth over her shoulder, maybe she wants to strangle him; or does it have something to do with her African Culture. Why nothing around her head?
He also boasts (correctly) that he is the only RAT candidate that has supported unconditional abortion for his entire career without once wavering.
If he ever becomes President, it will be interesting to see if he is formally excommunicated.
Catholic Pro Abortion, Pro Homosexaul Demon
It is my understanding that Kerry was refused an annulment.>>
Lurch and the Swimmer both attended the installation Mass of Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley, OFM, Cap. of Boston. I can't remember if they received Holy Communion or not.
Of course Karen Tumulty and her colleagues think 'blunt, outspoken' women are great. Most others just call them rude.
I am surprised that in South Carolina he isn't claiming she is "African/American" to get the black vote.
Actually the Boston Catholics of John Kerry's ilk didn't LIKE Cardinal Law because he was too conservative for them.
None of the above - he traded up in wealth by leaving his first wife (Kerry is a real slimeball IMO for having done this).
Old wife's worth - around 200 mil
New wife's worth - around 500 mil *plus* the foundation she 'chairs'.
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