PETER JACKSONASSOCIATED PRESSBOSTON -
Teresa Heinz Kerry urged her home-state delegates to the Democratic National Convention to restore a more civil tone to American politics, then minutes later told a newspaperman to "shove it."
"We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics," the wife of Sen. John Kerry told her fellow Pennsylvanians on Sunday night at a Massachusetts Statehouse reception.
Minutes later, Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned her on what she meant by the term "un-American," according to a tape of the encounter recorded by Pittsburgh television station WTAE.
Heinz Kerry said, "I didn't say that" several times to McNickle. She then turned to confer with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others. When she faced McNickle again a short time later, he continued to question her, and she replied: "You said something I didn't say. Now shove it.''
The Pennsylvania delegation was the first to be visited by the wife of Kerry, the presumed Democratic nominee. Before her encounter with McNickle, she criticized the tenor of modern political campaigns, without being specific.
A spokesperson for Heinz Kerry later said, "This was sheer frustration aimed at a right-wing rag that has consistently and purposely misrepresented the facts in reporting on Mrs. Kerry and her family.''
Asked about the exchange on CNN's "American Morning," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said today, "A lot of Americans are going to say, 'Good for you, you go, girl,' and that's certainly how I feel about it.''
Vice President Dick Cheney recently came under criticism for using a four-letter obscenity in an exchange with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on the Senate floor. He later was unapologetic about the remark, saying: "I felt better after I said it.''