Washington Prowler

Hairy Kerry

Does he or doesn't he? Plus: Kerry makeup concerns at the SEIU.

By 2.19.04

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DOES HE OR DOESN'T HE?
If the run for the Democratic nomination is giving Sen. John Kerry any gray hairs, he isn't showing it. That's because -- according to the story going around the campaign -- Kerry is gradually having some tinting done to change what was a mostly gray head of hair into one with no more than a "touch of gray."

"I think he really wanted to do a bit more, but then he got caught up in the whole botox thing and they got scared," says a Kerry campaign source. "On some days you can definitely see the difference. Other days, when he's been out and the hair has been blowing around, it isn't so noticeable. But by convention time, we'll have it down.

According to the Kerry source, the campaign has also been playing with makeup for the candidate, but without much success. "There have evening appearances where he has looked downright orange, or like he has spent way too much time on a tanning bed," says the aide. "But every candidate uses this stuff, especially for media blitzes. Kerry just uses it more often because of his skin tone."

MEANWHILE, KERRY IS PROBABLY PULLING out his hair over his failure to gain the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union, which continues to hold off on endorsing a new Democrat now that former Vermont Gov. Howie Dean is out of the race.

While the SEIU is part of the AFL-CIO, which endorsed Kerry on Thursday, the union chose not to hand its endorsement to Kerry. SEIU boss Andrew Stern polled his local leaders on Wednesday night, and the message from those conference calls was one of divided loyalties between Kerry and John Edwards and even Dean.

Stern made it clear that his union is not opposing the AFL-CIO endorsement of Kerry. But the SEIU is under pressure to make a choice. Stern spoke to both Edwards and Kerry and suggested they meet with SEIU union chieftains, and make their best case.

KERRY IS ANXIOUS FOR THE SEIU's backing, in part, so his campaign will be able to utilize the tens of millions of dollars the national SEIU possesses, not to mention the millions in local SEIU dollars. Those funds would go a long way to underwriting Democratic Party get-out-the-vote programs leading up to election day, as well as issue ads in the months before the convention and the weeks afterward. Under current FEC rules, the unions are blocked from running such ads within 60 days of the November elections.

"Organized labor and the 527s are going to keep the Democrats very visible and matching us dollar for dollar with Bush," says a Kerry staffer. "That will mean that instead of us spending on media, they will be doing it for us. Then we'll have the cash on hand after the convention to really go after Bush well into the fall."

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