Significant others

Does the public have a reason to evaluate a candidate's spouse?
As John Kerry nailed down his grip on the Democratic nomination for president, Americans craned their necks for a look at his wife. Teresa Heinz Kerry, who by a previous marriage came into part of the Heinz Company fortune, was a very visible presence at each stop in the marathon of primary contests. The <i>New York Timesi> evaluated her political contribution: she “may be both an asset and a liability for his ambitions,” it said, adding that she has “a reputation as being offbeat.”

Earlier in the primary season, the media assessed and dissected Howard Dean’s wife, Judith Steinberg, who apparently violated an unwritten rule of American politics by not campaigning with her husband. Instead, she tended to her medical practice in Vermont.


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