Washington Prowler

After the Fall

The Secret Service is out on Kerry. Plus: "Tell him I'm not in."

By 3.21.04

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JOCK STRAPPED
It's been less than a month, and already there are rumors inside the Treasury Department that a Secret Service agent working on the detail for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is asking for reassignment.

"It was the shopping thing in Boston last week," says a uniformed service officer. "It has been the talk around the office. The man makes his security detail run errands with him, including when buying a jock strap? It was all photo-op stuff. Two weeks earlier, Senator Kerry would have had an intern do it. Another man would have asked his wife or kids to help him out. But Kerry said he needed to be out in public."

John Kerry made quite a scene traveling around Boston first buying a number of nonfiction, difficult-to-read books with titles that would impress anyone who didn't realize Kerry probably won't actually read them, except for maybe the late Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage. Kerry also picked up his bicycle from the shop, and then picked out the athletic supporter. With his daughter looking on.

Further adding to the tension is Kerry's behavior in Ketchum, Idaho, where while on the slopes snowboarding Kerry made much of his athletic prowess in the hours leading up to his first official foray. Yet once network news cameras were deployed, Kerry and his staff asked that no pictures be taken until after he'd had a "practice run."

The cameramen agreed. At that point, Kerry allowed several cameramen on skis to follow him down the slopes. But a few minutes later, when a Secret Service agent accidentally knocked Kerry down as the agent avoided some other skiers, Kerry threw a fit.

"First, Kerry sat up and took off his sunglasses. He was looking to see where the cameras were and whether his fall got photographed," says a production assistant for one of the network crews. Then when asked about the tumble by a producer for one of the crews, Kerry infamously snapped, "I don't fall down. That son of a bitch ran into me," and pointed at the Secret Service agent.

"It was an extremely uncomfortable scene. Everyone saw it," says the production assistant. "It reminded a few of the older folks of the early Clinton days when he would dress down staff and low level aides when he got mad."

Later, Kerry walked into the ski resort's lounge. Outside, standing on the deck, there had been a smattering of applause. Kerry waived and entered the lounge, apparently thinking he'd get more of the same.

Instead, he heard taunts of "Bush. Bush. Bush." The candidate didn't stay long, and didn't acknowledge the jeers of his opposition. He shouldn't have been surprised ... Idaho is attack-machine Red State territory after all.

THE NEW ISOLATIONISM
Last Tuesday, the Prowler reported that presumed Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's campaign had contacted Spanish prime minister elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in the wake of the Spanish Socialists' victory to express hope that the two men might meet.

Last Thursday Zapatero returned Kerry's phone call. Kerry, however, did not take the call, according to a Kerry adviser in Washington.

What a difference a few days make.

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