Though he has denied it before, the question of whether front-running Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has used cosmetic enhancements to smooth his furrowed forehead keeps coming up.

In Seattle, ahead of tomorrow’s Washington caucuses, local talk-radio host Dave Ross led off a 10-minute interview with the subject.

“The first question is a housekeeping question,” said Ross of KIRO radio. “Everybody is asking it. They want to know, are you now, or have you ever used Botox? We can clear it up right now.”

Said Kerry: “No, it’s a silly question. The answer is no.”

Ross replied, “I’ll consider it cleared up then.”

The rumor gained momentum after two prominent New York plastic surgeons examined “before” and “after” photos posted on the Drudge Report, the New York Daily News reported.

The surgeons claimed Kerry exhibits all the signs of a Botox injection.

“Not only is it Botox, but it’s classic bad Botox,” Dr. Michael Kane, a surgeon in private practice, told the New York paper.

“His forehead is just way too smooth,” Kane said. “It looks weird. It’s a bizarre appearance that he’s got not a wrinkle. That doesn’t happen to 60-year-olds.”

Dr. Gerald Ember, an attending plastic surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital, said the pictures show a “marked absence of the horizontal lines of the forehead and wrinkles between the eyes.”

“Only Botox or a forehead lift would do this,” he told the Daily News. “And I say good for him!”

A Boston radio station posed the question to Kerry on the day of the New Hampshire primary. The Massachusetts senator “absolutely” denied receiving Botox treatments.

“I’ve never even heard it,” Kerry said. “Where did this come from? … I’ve never even heard of it. Never heard of it.”

The Daily News noted the candidate’s wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, has publicly acknowledged using Botox.

The paper also pointed out last year, Kerry denied to a Boston Globe reporter he had a medical problem but later acknowledged he had been successfully treated for prostate cancer.

Kerry explained the contradiction by saying he wanted to tell his family first.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter told the Daily News the plastic surgeons are wrong.

“Since when do doctors make diagnoses based on pictures?” she asked. “John Kerry has not ever had any injections of Botox or any other cosmetic procedure done. … It’s ridiculous that people are focusing on this and not on real issues.”

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported, Howard Dean took a swipe at Kerry at a Super Bowl-themed fundraiser in Roseville, Mich. Dean turned to the big-screen television and noticed Willie Nelson performing at the pregame festivities.

“Is that Willie Nelson?” Dean asked as he spoke by phone to 70 other house-party fundraisers nationwide, the Times said. “It looked like he had Botox injections too.”

The comment drew laughter, but a grinning Dean tried to backtrack, the paper said.

“I didn’t say who the other person was!” he insisted. “I didn’t say who the other person was!”

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