Teresa Heinz Kerry did not call her detractors “scumbags” as reported by New Yorker magazine, according to the television station that conducted the interview from which the comment was taken.
Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV said today a review of the tape of its April interview with wife of Sen. John Kerry shows that while she did use the derogatory word, it came in the context of discussing what her son Chris called the “noble art of public service.”
“I believe there is a nobility in public service. I believe every citizen can be a public servant. And should be,” said Heinz Kerry.
WTAE’s Sally Wiggin then asked, “Do you think some of the nobility has gone out of public service?”
Heinz Kerry said, “Oh, there is a lot of scumbags everywhere. Not just in politics. In everything. There are a lot of immoral people everywhere.”
The Pittsburgh station said the author of the New Yorker article was allowed by Heinz Kerry to observe the original interview as it was taped.
The magazine contacted WTAE to confirm the quote, but “the context in the final article gave different shading to the meaning of the remarks,” the station said.
The New Yorker said advisers for her husband’s presidential campaign have struggled with her off-the-cuff remarks in the media.
“There are these bizarre moments that make you shudder,” a Kerry adviser told the magazine. “Like calling herself African-American to black audiences.”
Earlier this month, Heinz Kerry said voters who don’t agree with her husbands health-care plans are “idiots.”
Writes the New Yorker’s Judith Thurman:
I doubt that she knows the literal meaning of “scumbag,” but perhaps, after 40 years in America, nearly 13 of them as a political wife, observing how the flaws and contradictions of a personality as complex as hers are melted down for ammunition by the other side, she should have learned it. Close friends attribute her lapses of discretion to “na?vet?.” Heinz Kerry says that they are a form of resistance to enforced conformity. “I don’t like to be told, for told’s sake,” how to behave, she says, “because I lived in a dictatorship for too long.”
Heinz Kerry was born and raised in Mozambique, which was ruled by the Fascist government of Ant?nio Salazar while she lived there.
As WorldNetDaily reported, in July Heinz Kerry told a journalist from a Pittsburgh paper to “shove it” after he questioned her use of the term “un-American” in a speech.