Just who wears the pants -- and carries the cash -- in the Kerry family became embarrassingly clear over the weekend, when, while shopping in Albuquerque, John Kerry had to let wife Teresa cover the cost of jewelry he wanted to buy for her.
Terry Kerry pulled out the $125 necessary for her hubby to buy her a turquoise necklace. While the Senator seemed perturbed at the situation, the missus acted like this was business as usual, chirpily thanking the mature woman behind the counter in Spanish: "Muchas gracias, abuelita." ("Thank you very much, grandmother.") The candidate, on the other hand, gave a half-hearted wave and walked out of the shop.
Kerry's whole New Mexico trip was a bit of disaster. For part of the day, in an attempt to play "regular guy," the Massachusetts senator wore new cowboy boots procured for him by Gov. Bill Richardson. "But they made his feet sore, and we had to get them off," says a campaign staffer.
Kerry also went shopping for a cowboy hat, but apparently some staffers were able to cut him off at the cash register before another embarrassing photo op could develop.
So much for Sen. John Edwards' "Two Americas." Over the weekend, Edwards, who's "Two Americas" stump speech was said to have enticed the Kerry campaign to put the North Carolinian on the bottom of the ticket, apparently dumped the stumper and ripped off Democratic hottie Barack Obama's convention speech.
At rally in Lawrence, Kansas, Edwards told the audience: "There is no red state, there is no blue state -- there is only one United States of America and we're going to serve this entire country."
Edwards' appearance in Lawrence resulted after the train he and Sen. John Kerry were on sped past a scheduled stop in the town a day earlier. The Kerry campaign was criticized mercilessly in the local press for passing up a throng of supporters waiting to greet the Democratic ticket at the train stop, so advance staffers organized a quickie pep rally.
So what happened to "Two Americas"?
"There is a segment of the campaign, and it's growing by the day, that doesn't think that speech is working very well," says a Kerry adviser. "In fact, we'd like it ditched. The problem is Edwards loves it. Kerry loves it. And the media really buys into it and promotes it for us. We just don't think the voters buy it."
Edwards, according to the source, liked Obama's speech and has been using the line in smaller venues, where he doesn't believe the national press will pick up his appearances.
According to a Kerry campaign source, senior campaign advisers tasked two Washington-based campaign staffers to vet the recently published Unfit for Command.
"The purpose was to compare what that book had with what we had on file from Senator Kerry," says the campaign source, who said that the research project developed more than 75 instances where Kerry's recollections, previous remarks, or writings conflicted with the book's reporting.
"We took some of the most glaring examples, like the Christmas in Cambodia story, and presented them to senior staff, and we assume that those things were put in front of Senator Kerry," says the source. "We haven't heard a word about it. All we were told is that it was being taken care of."
The campaign source said that the book was not considered a "serious" problem for the campaign, because, "the media wouldn't have the nerve to come at us with this kind of stuff," says the source. "The senior staff believes the media is committed to seeing us win this thing, and that the convention inoculated us from these kinds of stories. The senior guys really think we don't have a problem here."
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