LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) considers his outspoken wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry (search), one of his biggest assets and scoffs at the idea that he is aloof and chilly.
"Have you had a beer with me yet?" Kerry asked a reporter during interviews Monday with local media. "I like to have fun as much as the next person, and go out and hack around and have a good time."
Asked if his political opponents were targeting his wife, Kerry said, "I think they're foolhardy to do it, personally, because I think she is so down-to-earth and so straightforward."
At times Heinz Kerry has been blunt in her public comments. She joked that her husband was in the bathroom when he learned of his early primary victories, and she told a television interviewer she had agreed to a doctor-recommended abortion before suffering a miscarriage. She also has talked freely of the prenuptial agreement she has with Kerry and the cosmetic Botox injections she has taken.
"If they want to attack her, they're going to have to go through me," Kerry said. "I'll be the first to defend anything she does ... she doesn't pull her punches."
Heinz Kerry is a native of Mozambique and the widow of Pennsylvania Sen. John Heinz, the Heinz prepared foods heir who died in an airplane crash. She inherited a fortune estimated at more than $500 million.
In spite of her wealth and a string of luxurious homes, her financial assistance to the Kerry campaign is limited to the maximum $2,000 contribution. Kerry took out a $6.4 million mortgage on the couple's Boston town house to help finance his campaign. While he has made public his tax returns, she has resisted calls that she release her financial records.
"I think people who meet her love her," Kerry said.