Skip to comments.Kerry says: "I Don't Fall Down" (Drudge's title)
Posted on 03/19/2004 6:24:10 AM PST by O.C. - Old Cracker
KETCHUM, Idaho, March 18 John Kerry was in the air, approaching the Continental Divide, and the candidate often ridiculed as straddling both sides of political divides was wrestling with the big matter at hand.
Should he ski, or snowboard? Or maybe both? He gave no clue where he stood. But that was Wednesday night.
A longtime adviser recently suggested that there were two John Kerrys: "indoor John and outdoor John" one who agonizes over decisions, and another who acts boldly on them.
It was outdoor John, decidedly so, who emerged from an armored S.U.V. at the foot of Bald Mountain here on Thursday morning, outfitted in blue ski gear and swigging from a bottle of vitamin-fortified water. From the rear of the vehicle he pulled a weathered old snowboard, and for most of the day proceeded to zigzag down what locals affectionately call Mount Baldy.
Mr. Kerry arrived Wednesday night for a full week of rest and relaxation, and a rare bit of privacy with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, at their high-altitude retreat.
His getaway came at a particularly rough time for the senator, the expected Democratic presidential nominee. For more than a week, he has had to defend himself from an onslaught of attacks by President Bush and millions of dollars in negative advertising, while taking criticism for calling Republicans "crooked" and "lying" and claiming to have the support of leaders whom he has not named. Moreover, a New York Times/CBS News poll indicated that many Americans were beginning to see him as the kind of politician who says what he thinks people want to hear.
Several Democrats and Kerry aides said some of his missteps were a result of exhaustion. They and some of the senator's friends said the vacation could not have come too soon. "He needed it about as badly as anybody could need it," said Sam Grossman, a real estate developer who has skied with Ms. Heinz Kerry here for decades, and with Mr. Kerry for years. "The best thing that can happen is he'll sleep, relax, eat some good food, and then, in a couple of days, he'll be back firing again."
Another reminder of how badly Mr. Kerry needed a break was provided by the Bush campaign, which released a commercial skewering him for saying Tuesday that he had voted both for and against the $87 billion appropriation for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it," he said, referring to an amendment he favored that would have rescinded some tax cuts to help finance the Iraq war.
Mr. Kerry's staff back in Washington was working in overdrive, meanwhile, marshaling surrogates to defend him and punch back at Mr. Bush. They were also compelled, however, to reject an endorsement from one foreign leader: Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian prime minister "an avowed anti-Semite whose views are totally deplorable," Rand Beers, a foreign policy adviser, said in a statement.
But Mr. Beers added that Mr. Kerry would shun as inappropriate the endorsement of any foreign leader at all.
This is Mr. Kerry's first week with his wife away from the hurly-burly, as he calls it, since late August. Then, of course, no one much cared where he went.
This time his arrival was the top story in the local paper. His plane, a chartered 737, disgorged dozens of staff members and journalists, as well as a full Secret Service detail. A top-flight racing bicycle was also along, in case Mr. Kerry, as serious a biker as he is a schusser, chose to go for a spin.
On his first full day off, though, Mr. Kerry awoke determined to hit the slopes of Mount Baldy.
The image-conscious candidate and his aides prevailed upon reporters and photographers to let him have a first run down the mountain solo, except for two agents and Marvin Nicholson, his omnipresent right-hand man.
His next trip down, a reporter and a camera crew were allowed to follow along on skis just in time to see Mr. Kerry taken out by one of the Secret Service men, who had inadvertently moved into his path, sending him into the snow.
When asked about the mishap a moment later, he said sharply, "I don't fall down," then used an expletive to describe the agent who "knocked me over."
The incident occurred near the summit. No one was hurt, and Mr. Kerry came careering down the mountain moments later, a look of intensity on his face, his lanky frame bent low to the ground.
Ms. Heinz Kerry, for her part, stuck to a pair of skis and was taking her time down the slope, accompanied by two old friends, one a former Olympian, the other a ski school instructor.
"I'm going tentatively, but prettily," she said, wearing tight black pants and a flaming red jacket.
The couple's outing created little stir here amid this natural splendor, but then Sun Valley is used to people like Tom Hanks, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.
"People of great fame and wealth can come here, and people don't invade their privacy," said one visitor, Larry Nast of Bellevue, Wash.
Still, Mr. Kerry could not entirely escape the hazards of the arena he had left behind. He had just sat down for a bite to eat on the crowded patio near the lift line when a waiting skier, John Norris, shouted: "Hey, John! What foreign leaders talked to you?"
Mr. Kerry beat a retreat back into the lodge, to an upstairs, out-of-the-way dining area where he would be sure to draw even less attention.
Idaho, to be sure, is very much a red state, but Ketchum is actually a dot of deep Democratic blue on the political map. Many stop signs here have "Bush 2004" spray-painted underneath, and the rebellious teenagers tend to be "hard-core vegans," said Barrett Cincotta, 13.
"Everyone in this town is anti-Bush," Barrett, a Junior Olympic skier, said between runs. "He's trying to destroy our planet."
Even visiting Texans were sympathetic to Mr. Kerry. Admiring the senator's choice of sport, Patrick Riggins, 51, a Houston real estate investor, said, "It's a little bit different from clearing brush, but I like it."
"Snowboarding really keeps you in the now moment," said Mr. Riggins, who added that he was rooting for Mr. Kerry. "Maybe it'll give him a chance to not think about all that stuff, and revitalize himself. This is the place to do it."
Sounds like a freep to me.
Does the $$$ difference between congressional protection vs. candidacy protection picked up by the Party?
| When Hasbro aquired Romper Room Inc. in 1969 the Weebles were on their way to Toy History. The Romper Room Show itself began in 1954 and was syndicated or franchised across America until the early seventies, when Weebles toys hit the marketplace.
The genesis of these little toys that wobbled but never fell down was actually the Romper Room Punching Clown -- Weebles are tiny plastic versions of "bop-bags".
And one of those views is that Kerry should be President of the U.S.
Game, set, and match.
"Are you a Republican?! Well?! ARE YOU?!"
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