NANTUCKET, Mass. – After a week of campaigning for the less fortunate, John Kerry (search) went on vacation with the fabulously wealthy.
Kerry is a rich man who promotes the Democratic ideal that government should do more to help the poor. He moves between both worlds, spending the past week traveling to downtrodden places like South-side Columbus, Ohio, and the affluent island playground of Nantucket (search).
Not since President Kennedy (search) have Democrats been prepared to nominate a man of such riches. President Clinton didn't own a home until he left the White House and President Carter was a peanut farmer. Both grew up poor in the South, as did President Johnson before them.
Kerry was educated at boarding school in Europe, prep school in New England and at Yale. He married two wealthy women and his second wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry (search), is heir to the $500 million Heinz food fortune.
Like Kerry, President Bush (search) is a Yale graduate who has benefited from his wealth and family connections. But Bush spends his down time trying to be more of an everyman, preferring to spend vacations at his Texas ranch clearing brush.
"Most Americans don't sit in Martha's Vineyard, swilling white wine," he said at the ranch two years ago.
Kerry says he and Bush are both lucky to come from privilege, but that the difference between them is in the values they now fight for. Kerry says Bush favors the wealthy, and Kerry plans to raise taxes on people making more than $200,000 a year to pay for health care, education and other programs he says would uplift all Americans.
Still, Kerry doesn't hide his membership as one of America's moneyed elite.
Shortly after securing the Democratic presidential nomination in March, Kerry took off on a skiiing and snowboarding vacation at the couple's nearly $5 million home in affluent Ketchum, Idaho.
Kerry spent Father's Day weekend at his wife's $9.1 million, five-bedroom waterfront home on Nantucket, where people get dressed up for dinner and the men aren't afraid to wear pink jackets — known locally as Nantucket red.
The Nantucket Independent reported last week that the average home sold for $1.4 million and that desirable weekly summer rentals can cost $25,000 or more.
Kerry and Teresa Heinz were married at the home in 1995. She had planned to fly up with Kerry from Washington on Saturday, but decided at the last minute to follow aboard her own private jet.
Kerry spokesman David Wade said rather than try to create a less patrician image of the Democratic candidate, staff knows, "you've got to let Kerry be Kerry."
"It's Father's Day weekend," Wade said. "It's a place he and his family have been coming to for years. He loves being out on the ocean, out on the water."
Kerry's two daughters joined the couple for a weekend of boating and dinner Saturday at The Pearl, where such delicacies as Tempura of Maryland Soft Shell Crabs cost $33. Their dining companions included fellow Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, his wife and her parents.
On Sunday, Kerry wanted to go kite surfing. But after taking his stepson's 31-foot Contender fishing boat out to the secluded Eel Point, Kerry found that the wind had died. He returned with a wave at the three boats of journalists and staff who sailed out to watch. Several Secret service agents kept watch from the beach.
Some locals worry that, if elected, Kerry's visits will disrupt life on the increasingly congested island. The Secret Service is sensitive to those concerns and has tried to minimize the impact of its security measures. Kerry's motorcade here, for example, did not use the usual flashing lights and sirens.
Most of the residents Kerry encountered clapped and encouraged him, but his presence still left some grumbling.
Jay Starr, owner of Nantucket's Starr Fish Charters, said the Secret Service shut down a public boat ramp Sunday morning, denying residents access to the water. "I like the guy, but he's going to lock up the island," Starr said.
But Greg Lockhart, manager of the Young's Bicycle Shop, where Kerry bought two $8 bike tubes Sunday, said reporters trailing Kerry around the island were the only disruption.
"This island has treated famous and well-off people as though they were normal people for a long time," Lockhart said. "It's one of the reasons they come here."