The Hiller Instinct: Kerry's Career
For those who don't it by now... Though he's been a senator for twenty years and a presidential hopeful for three, John Kerry still feels a need to introduce himself to America tonight. Like most candidates, much of his appeal to voters is based on his biography.
From senate witness to U.S. Senator -- now yet another JFK from Massachusetts has his eyes set on the White House, quite a change from his early ambitions...
"Do you want to be president?"
"Of the United States? No. (smiles)"
Born in 1943, John Forbes Kerry spent much of his childhood away from home at boarding schools in Switzerland and New Hampshire before heading to Yale University where he, like President Bush, joined an elite secret society.
"You both were members of Skull and Bones, a secret society at Yale. What does that tell us?"
Tim Russert, Moderator, "Meet the Press"
"Not much, because it's a secret. (laughs)"
After Yale Kerry joined the Navy, serving as a swift boat captain in Vietnam, earning the silver and bronze stars and three purple hearts. His distinguished service didn't stop Kerry from making headlines for his strong anti-war stance.
"We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service."
After BC Law School and a stint as a prosecutor for the Middlesex County DA's office, Kerry was elected lieutenant governor on the 1982 ticket with Michael Dukakis.
"I John F. Kerry…"
And just two years later, it was off to the U.S. Senate.
"How sweet it is (cheers)."
In 1995, Kerry, divorced with two grown daughters, married Teresa Heinz, one of the richest women in America and widow of former republican Senator John Heinz, heir to ketchup fortune.
"She's very, she is sassy. She is brassy sassy."
For Kerry himself, a different adjective is often used -- aloof.
"Have I seemed aloof to you? I just think that that is written by people, who don't know me, haven't spent time with me and I don't worry about it."
For ‘R and R’ Kerry turns outdoors, often seen snowboarding at his family's Sun Valley home, wind or kite-surfing off the beaches of Nantucket, playing ice hockey or riding his Harley.
Politics aside, the usually active Kerry faced one of his toughest battles last February undergoing prostate cancer surgery.
"I feel lucky as I stand here, the reason I feel lucky is I know I'm going to be cured."
Kerry rebounded physically and politically, finding the prescription for enough primary wins to clinch the nomination quickly and officially claim the title "Presidential Candidate" just blocks from his Beacon Hill home.
"Boston is going to have the best convention that the Democratic Party has every put on."
To make that prediction a fact, Kerry is going to have to give the best convention speech... or very close to it. The whole world may not be watching, but millions will.