WASHINGTON – In the United States, a nation of immigrants enjoys knowing the family history of their presidents and presidential candidates, and many have played it up big.
Presidents Kennedy and Reagan were both famously proud of their Irish roots. But given the circumstances of the run-up to the U.S. war in Iraq, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) may not be touting his family ties, which trace back to a small town in France.
Kerry's French connection dates back to his maternal grandfather, European-based banker James Grant Forbes (search), whose daughter married Kerry's diplomat father.
As a young boy, Kerry spent his summers in St. Briac (search), a quaint village of about 2,000 people on the west coast of France. The family still owns a home there.
Another of Forbes' daughters married a Frenchmen, whose son, Brice LaLonde, now the mayor of St. Briac, remembers his first cousin as a leader.
LaLonde, himself a seasoned politician, said that a French association may not play well for Kerry after the dispute between the United States and France over the war in Iraq. But he doesn't think it should be overplayed.
Residents of the French town admit that they don't believe Kerry has a lock on the Democratic nomination. Others say they don't care who wins the U.S. presidency. Instead, they prefer to keep the U.S.-French relationship as warm as it was after American troops liberated St. Briac from Nazi occupation in World War II (search).
Click here to watch a fair and balanced report by Fox News' Greg Palkot.