Democratic front-runner Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign is in peril amid allegations of infidelity, according to the Drudge Report.

“A frantic behind-the-scenes drama is unfolding around Sen. John Kerry and his quest to lock up the Democratic nomination for president,” Drudge says.

Sen. John Kerry (Photo: Boston Globe)

Earlier this week, according to Drudge, Gen. Wesley Clark told a dozen reporters in an off-the-record conversation, “Kerry will implode over an intern issue … .”

Clark formally announced his withdrawal from the race yesterday. But former front-runner Howard Dean sees the “Kerry commotion” as a chance to revive his dying campaign, Drudge reports.

The allegation is why Dean “has turned increasingly aggressive against Kerry in recent days, and is the key reason why Dean reversed his decision not to drop out of the race after Wisconsin,” top campaign sources told Drudge.

“A serious investigation of the woman and the nature of her relationship with Kerry has been under way at Time magazine, ABC News, the Washington Post and the Associated Press, where the woman in question once worked,” Drudge says.

Drudge says the woman recently fled the country, reportedly at the prodding of Kerry. A close friend of the woman, he reports, first approached a reporter late last year “claiming fantastic stories.”

The news-industry magazine Editor & Publisher contacted the Associated Press to see if the wire service would be reporting on the story.

“We simply don’t comment on stories we are pursuing or not pursuing,” AP spokesman Jack Stokes said.

During his broadcast today, radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh speculated the bombshell information could have been leaked to Drudge by Bill or Hillary Clinton. He said if that were true, the irony is “just too juicy.” The former president was impeached after Drudge first publicized allegations of Clinton’s own marital infidelity with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

In a story about Kerry rival John Edwards, AP cites recent encouragement the North Carolina senator has received from Bill Clinton.

Clinton told USA Today, “A lot of times things happen late in the race” which may or may not make a difference. “Look at the elections of the last 30 years. And ask yourself, is this election the same or different?”

A week ago, the Boston Herald’s Inside Track column discussed a National Enquirer investigation on John Kerry which claimed Kerry is “an admitted pot smoker who had an eye for Hollywood honeys, namely Morgan Fairchild, Michelle Phillips and Catherine Oxenberg. In fact, Morgan and Michelle were so turned off by him, they both contributed to the other candidates seeking the nomination,” the Herald stated.

According to the column, the Enquirer story also mentioned a “22-year-old blonde who was spotted around midnight ‘dropping off her resume’ at Kerry’s Louisburg Square home while wife Teresa Heinz was in Nantucket.”

Commenting on the Drudge story, Craig Crawford of the Congressional Quarterly said the allegation is something Wesley Clark campaign secretary and former Al Gore adviser Chris Lahane “has shopped around for a long time.

“It was one reason the Gore vetters in 2000 shied away from Kerry as a running mate choice,” Crawford said.

Gore’s staffers concluded the news wasn’t bad enough to disqualify the Massachusetts senator, he continued, “except for the fact that they couldn’t risk it as they were trying so hard to distance themselves from Clinton’s personal failings.”

Crawford notes that in addition to working for Gore, Lehane briefly advised Kerry during the current campaign.

“The Kerry camp has long expected to deal with this, and have assured party leaders they can handle it,” Crawford said.

Meanwhile, the news is providing fodder on messageboards like, where one post reads: “Watch out boys, those hoof prints you are hearing is Hillary running in for the rescue of her party!”

More to come …

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