Heinz Kerry Unafraid of Speaking Her Mind

Published July 27, 2004

| FoxNews.com

Teresa Heinz Kerry (search) was somewhat reluctant to see her husband run for president, and she misses the days she could attend church or walk through a park alone. Not being able to speak her mind, though, isn't a problem.

"I always say what I think," Heinz Kerry told "The Early Show" in an interview aired Tuesday on CBS. "I don't go out and say it willy-nilly for its own sake, but if called upon I do."

Heinz Kerry felt the call on the eve of the Democratic National Convention (search) when she confronted a journalist and told him to "shove it" for asking her to explain further her comments to Pennsylvania delegates.

"If someone is really attacking your honor or trying to really be dishonest, really, to try to get you, I think most Americans, most people would say, you know, defend yourself. And that's what I did," she told CBS.

Heinz Kerry will get to speak her mind to millions Tuesday night in a convention address focusing on "the issues that are the work of her life," including the environment, health care and economic security, according to senior adviser Marla Romash.

While presumed nominee John Kerry (search) has read his wife's approximately 15-minute speech, Heinz Kerry hastened to point out that she wrote it herself.

On the campaign trail, the 65-year-old heiress of the Heinz ketchup fortune has acknowledged using Botox and signing a prenuptial agreement with Kerry — topics that other political spouses may have stayed away from.

She recently called John Edwards "beautiful" and her husband "smart."

As she works to get her second husband elected president, Heinz Kerry also often speaks of her late husband, Republican Sen. John Heinz III of Pennsylvania, who died in a 1991 plane crash.

A first generation American of Portuguese ancestry, Heinz Kerry grew up in the African dictatorship of Mozambique, a detail that she often mentions on the stump, sometimes referring to herself as an "African American."

Heinz Kerry, who is fluent in five languages, attended college in South Africa and a translator school in Switzerland before marrying Heinz. The couple had three sons, two of whom have been active in their stepfather's campaign.

The youngest, Chris, 31, will give a speech introducing his mother Tuesday night.

After her husband's death, Heinz Kerry became chairwoman of the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies. In that role, she has helped channel money to organizations focused on health care, early childhood education and the arts.

In the speech, she will use a TelePrompTer for the first time, she has said.

The convention address "is the one time when we can safely say Teresa Heinz Kerry has been vetted," said Jeremy Mayer, an assistant professor of political science at George Mason University. "I wouldn't expect anything but fairly safe remarks."

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