LOUISVILLE, KY. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry warned his political opponents on Monday against attacking his outspoken wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, saying, "They're going to have to go through me."
The Massachusetts senator also sought to dispel the notion he was aloof, asking one television interviewer: "Have you had a beer with me yet? I like to have fun as much as the next person, and go out and hack around and have a good time."
Worth an estimated $500 million, born in Mozambique and fluent in five languages, Mrs. Kerry can be controversial and blunt, disclosing her Botox injections, her prenuptial agreement with Kerry and the fact he was in the bathroom when he got word of his wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.
"If they want to attack her, they're going to have to go through me. I'll be the first to defend anything she does. ... She doesn't pull her punches," Kerry said in one television interview when asked if Republicans were targeting his wife.
"I think that they're foolhardy to do it, personally, because I think that she's so down to earth and so straightforward," Kerry said. "I think people who meet her love her."
Mrs. Kerry has been criticized for her outspokenness and candor, and some Republican commentators have also called on her to release her tax returns.
While she is wealthy from her marriage to former Republican Sen. John Heinz, the heir to the Pittsburgh ketchup empire, she said Sen. Kerry was not. She can only contribute the same $2,000 to his campaign everyone else can.
Kerry was able, however, to mortgage the couple's townhouse in Boston to take out a $6.4 million loan to keep his campaign afloat.