By Mike Torralba and Katrina Altersitz
BOSTON – Teresa Heinz Kerry may not be another Hillary Clinton, but some Maryland Democrats hope she would be more like the senator from New York than like Laura Bush.
While the current first lady advocates topics most can agree with – such as child literacy – Kerry would tackle more controversial issues and be more outspoken, some Marylanders attending the Democratic National Convention this week said.
“Teresa Heinz is the modern image (of a first lady), kind of in the same light as Hillary,” said Guy Guzzone, a delegate from Columbia.
Delegate Ken Reichard of St. Leonard said Kerry is “the type of woman who speaks her mind and, when she makes up her mind, does whatever it takes to make it come out the way she wants.”
Kerry, who was scheduled to address the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, told a reporter at a Massachusetts Statehouse event Sunday to “shove it” after he questioned her use of the phrase “un-American” in a speech. She was married to Republican Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania until his death in 1991. She is heiress to the Heinz ketchup fortune. She married John Kerry in 1995. Edith Jerry Patterson praised her as an “independent thinker” who would be a good “counter-personality to John Kerry.”
On the other hand, Kerry’s not expected to become “part of the policy-making machine,” as Sandy Brantley, a volunteer for Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s re-election campaign, put it.
“I think she will not try to dictate to John Kerry how he will be president,” Brantley said. “She doesn’t weigh in on his Senate votes.”
And Kerry’s political ambitions — if she has any — would be shelved. “Unlike Hillary, I don’t see Teresa Heinz running for office,” Brantley said.
Others were looking for a role model in a first lady, something that would suit Kerry. “For us to have a woman of that caliber . . . would be such an example to every young girl, young woman, of what is out there for you,” said Jim Kraft, a Baltimore City Council member-elect.
Richard Hirn, a delegate from Chevy Chase, wondered why anyone should care about gauging the first lady — any of them. “If the first lady is involved in forming policy, that’s worth knowing about,” Hirn said. “But I think the press and some of the campaigns have made it too big an issue.”CNS reporters Kathleen Cullinan and Ryan Spass contributed to this report.
– 30 – CNS-7-27-04