John Kerry

John Kerry

Overview
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 in the 2004 presidential election
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

, but lost to former President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

.

The son of an Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps
The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

 serviceman, Kerry was born in Aurora, Colorado
Aurora, Colorado
City of Aurora is a Home Rule Municipality spanning Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas counties in Colorado. Aurora is an eastern suburb of the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area . The city is the third most populous city in the Colorado and the 56th most populous city in the...

. He attended boarding school in Massachusetts and New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 and went on to graduate from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 class of 1966, where he majored in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

.
Discussion
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Quotations

We feel we have been used in the worst fashion by the administration of this country. ... And we cannot consider ourselves America's best men when we are ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia.

Wikisource:Vietnam Veterans Against the War Statement|Testimony before subcommittees of the U.S. Senate, April, 1971

I voted to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. I knew we had to hold him accountable. There's never been a doubt about that. But I also know that if we had done this with a sufficient number of troops, if we had done this in a globalized way, if we had brought more people to the table, we might have caught Saddam Hussein sooner. We might have had less loss of life. We would be in a stronger position today with respect to what we're doing.

14 December 2003, Fox News Sunday

I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.

San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2004 pE2
Encyclopedia
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 in the 2004 presidential election
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

, but lost to former President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

.

The son of an Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps
The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

 serviceman, Kerry was born in Aurora, Colorado
Aurora, Colorado
City of Aurora is a Home Rule Municipality spanning Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas counties in Colorado. Aurora is an eastern suburb of the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area . The city is the third most populous city in the Colorado and the 56th most populous city in the...

. He attended boarding school in Massachusetts and New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 and went on to graduate from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 class of 1966, where he majored in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1966 and, during 1968-1969, served a four-month tour of duty in South Vietnam as officer-in-charge (OIC) of a Swift Boat. For that service he was awarded several combat medals that include the Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

, Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

, and three Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

s. After returning to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Vietnam Veterans Against the War is a tax-exempt non-profit organization and corporation, originally created to oppose the Vietnam War. VVAW describes itself as a national veterans' organization that campaigns for peace, justice, and the rights of all United States military veterans...

 in which he served as a nationally recognized spokesperson and as an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam war. During that period, he appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs where he deemed his superiors to be "war criminals".

After graduating from Boston College Law School
Boston College Law School
Boston College Law School is one of the six professional graduate schools at Boston College. Located approximately 1.5 miles from the main Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, Boston College Law School is situated on a wooded campus in Newton, Massachusetts.With approximately 800 students and...

, Kerry worked as an Assistant District Attorney and co-founded a private firm. He served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
The Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts is the first in the line to discharge the powers and duties of the office of governor following the incapacitation of the Governor of Massachusetts...

 under Michael Dukakis
Michael Dukakis
Michael Stanley Dukakis served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts from 1975–1979 and from 1983–1991, and was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. He was born to Greek immigrants in Brookline, Massachusetts, also the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, and was the longest serving...

 from 1983 to 1985, where he worked on an early forerunner to the national Clean Air Act
Clean Air Act
A Clean Air Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of airborne contaminants, smog and air pollution in general. The use by governments to enforce clean air standards has contributed to an improvement in human health and longer life spans...

. He won a tight Democratic primary in 1984 for the U.S. Senate and was sworn in the following January. On the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as...

, he led a series of hearings
Kerry Committee report
The Kerry Committee report were hearings chaired by Senator John Kerry which found the United States Department of State had paid drug traffickers. Some of these payments were after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges or while traffickers were...

 from 1987 to 1989 which were a precursor to the Iran–Contra affair. He was an early backer of the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, but became a strong opponent of the subsequent war.

Kerry based his 2004 presidential campaign
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

 on opposition to the Iraq War. He and his running mate Senator John Edwards
John Edwards
Johnny Reid "John" Edwards is an American politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in...

 lost by 34 electoral votes. Since then, he has established the Keeping America's Promise PAC
Political action committee
In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a...

. He became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009, and in 2011 he was appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, colloquially referred to as the Supercommittee, is a joint select committee of the United States Congress, created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 on August 2, 2011...

.

Biography


Kerry is the child of Richard Jerry Kerry
Richard J. Kerry
Richard John Kerry was an American Foreign Service officer and lawyer, and was the father of U.S. Senator and 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate, John Kerry.Kerry married Rosemary Forbes Kerry on February 8, 1941 in Montgomery, Alabama...

 (1915–2000), a Foreign Service
United States Foreign Service
The United States Foreign Service is a component of the United States federal government under the aegis of the United States Department of State. It consists of approximately 11,500 professionals carrying out the foreign policy of the United States and aiding U.S...

 Officer and an attorney for the Bureau of United Nations Affairs
Bureau of United Nations Affairs
The Bureau of United Nations Affairs was a division of the United States Department of State created in 1949. Richard J. Kerry, the father of US Senator John Kerry, worked for the bureau. Today, the division of the State Department that handles relations with the United Nations is the Bureau of...

, and Rosemary Forbes Kerry
Rosemary Forbes Kerry
Rosemary Isabel Forbes Kerry , was one of eleven children of James Grant Forbes of the Protestant Forbes family of China and Boston, and wife Margaret Tyndal Winthrop. She studied to be a nurse, and served in the Red Cross in Paris during World War II...

 (1913–2002), a World War II nurse and member of the wealthy Forbes family
Forbes family
The Forbes family is a wealthy extended American family originating in Boston. The family's fortune originates from trading between North America and China in the 19th century plus other investments in the same period. The name descends from Scottish immigrants, and can be traced back to Sir John...

. He has three siblings: two sisters, Diana (born in 1947) and Margerie (aka Peggy; born in 1941), and a brother, Cameron
Cameron Kerry
Cameron Forbes Kerry is the younger brother and political confidant of John F. Kerry.The fourth child of U.S. diplomat Richard J. Kerry and his wife, Rosemary Winthrop Forbes, Cameron Kerry graduated from Harvard University in 1972, and Boston College Law School in 1978. Cameron Kerry was...

 (born in 1950), Cameron Kerry was picked to be Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

's general counsel of the Commerce Department.

His immediate family members were reportedly observant Roman Catholics. As a child, Kerry served as an altar boy
Altar server
An altar server is a lay assistant to a member of the clergy during a Christian religious service. An altar server attends to supporting tasks at the altar such as fetching and carrying, ringing the altar bell and so on....

. Although the extended family enjoyed a great fortune, Kerry's parents themselves were upper-middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

; a wealthy great aunt paid for Kerry to attend elite schools in Europe and New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

. Kerry spent his summers at the Forbes family estate
Les Essarts, Forbes family estate
is the Forbes family estate at Saint-Briac, France, and the international family seat of the descendants of James Grant Forbes , a member of the Forbes family of China and Boston who settled in Brittany at...

 in Brittany, and there, he enjoyed a more opulent lifestyle than he had previously known in Massachusetts.

It was discovered in 2003 by genealogist Felix Gundacker, working with The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has been owned by The New York Times Company since 1993...

, that Kerry's paternal grandparents, who had been born "Fritz Kohn" and "Ida Löwe" in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, changed their names to "Frederick and Ida Kerry" in 1900 and converted from Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 to Roman Catholicism in 1901 or 1902. Fritz' elder brother Otto had earlier, in 1887 or 1896, also embraced Catholicism. The "Kerry" name, widely misinterpreted as indicative of Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 heritage, was reputedly selected arbitrarily: "According to family legend, Fritz and another family member opened an atlas at random and dropped a pencil on a map. It fell on County Kerry in Ireland, and thus a name was chosen." Leaving their hometown Mödling
Mödling
Mödling is the capital of the Austrian district of the same name located approximately 14 km south of Vienna.The settlement dates back to the Neolithic. In medieval times, the town was the residence of a branch of the Babenberger family, as a result of which it received the nickname...

, a suburb of Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 where they had lived since 1896, Fred and Ida, together with their son Eric, emigrated to the United States in 1905, living at first in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 and eventually moving to Brookline, Massachusetts
Brookline, Massachusetts
Brookline is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States, which borders on the cities of Boston and Newton. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 58,732.-Etymology:...

, by 1915.

The village where Fritz Kohn was born in 1873 was at that time known as Bennisch and was a part of Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but is today known as Horní Benešov
Horní Benešov
Horní Benešov is a small town in the Moravian-Silesian Region of the Czech Republic.Benešov has a long mining tradition. It started as a mining settlement at the beginning of the 13th century. The town was officially founded in 1253, and the rights were confirmed in 1271 by the Bohemian King...

 in the Czech Republic. After learning of his ancestral connection with their village, the mayor and citizens sent congratulatory correspondence to John Kerry with regard to his political pursuits.

For a time, Fred Kerry was a prosperous and successful shoe merchant, and Ida and two of the children — Richard (who would become the father of John Kerry) and Mildred — were able to afford to travel to Europe in the autumn of 1921, returning on October 21. A few weeks later, on November 15, Fred Kerry filed a will leaving everything to Ida and then, on November 23, walked into a washroom of the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston and committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 by shooting himself in the head with a handgun. The suicide was front-page news in all of the Boston newspapers, reporting at the time that the motive was severe asthma
Asthma
Asthma is the common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath...

 and related health problems, but modern reports cite family sources saying that the motive was financial trouble: "He had made three fortunes and when he had lost the third fortune, he couldn't face it anymore", according to granddaughter Nancy Stockslager.

John Kerry has said that although he knew his paternal grandfather had come from Austria, he did not know until informed by The Boston Globe on the basis of their genealogical research that Fred Kerry had changed his name from "Fritz Kohn" and had been born Jewish, nor that his great-uncle and great-aunt, Ida Kerry's brother Otto and sister Jenni, died in Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

.

On his mother's side, the Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

 name can be traced back to Thomas Dudley
Thomas Dudley
Thomas Dudley was a colonial magistrate who served several terms as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Dudley was the chief founder of Newtowne, later Cambridge, Massachusetts, and built the town's first home...

 of the Dudley-Winthrop family
Dudley-Winthrop family
-Thomas Dudley:*Born: 1576, Yardley-Hastings, Northampton, England*Political position: Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony 1634, 1640, 1645, 1650*Father of Anne Dudley who married Simon Bradstreet*Father of Joseph Dudley...

 who landed in Salem, Massachusetts
Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census. It and Lawrence are the county seats of Essex County...

, on June 14, 1630, with his daughter, poet Anne Dudley Bradstreet
Anne Bradstreet
Anne Dudley Bradstreet was New England's first published poet. Her work met with a positive reception in both the Old World and the New World.-Biography:...

, and others aboard the Arbella
Arbella
The Arbella or Arabella was the flagship of the Winthrop Fleet on which, between April 8 and June 12, 1630, Governor John Winthrop, other members of the Company and Puritan emigrants transported themselves and the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay Company from England to Salem, thereby giving legal...

.

Kerry is 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall, enjoys surfing
Surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

 and windsurfing
Windsurfing
Windsurfing or sailboarding is a surface water sport that combines elements of surfing and sailing. It consists of a board usually two to four metres long, powered by the orthogonal effect of the wind on a sail. The rig is connected to the board by a free-rotating universal joint and comprises a...

, as well as ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

, hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 and playing bass guitar
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

. According to an interview he gave to Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 magazine in 2004, Kerry's favorite album is Abbey Road and he is a fan of The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

 and The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

, as well as of Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

 and Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffett
James William "Jimmy" Buffett is a singer-songwriter, author, entrepreneur, and film producer. He is best known for his music, which often portrays an "island escapism" lifestyle. Together with his Coral Reefer Band, Buffett's musical hits include "Margaritaville" , and "Come Monday"...

. He never liked heavy metal
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

. During his 2004 presidential campaign, Kerry used Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

's "No Surrender" as one of his campaign songs. Later he would adopt U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

's "Beautiful Day
Beautiful Day
"Beautiful Day" is a song by the rock band U2. It is the first track from their 2000 album, All That You Can't Leave Behind, and it was released as the album's lead single. It was a commercial success, helping launch the album to multi-platinum status, and is one of U2's biggest hits to date...

" as his official campaign song.

Kerry is described by Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

, among others, as an "avid cyclist
Cycling
Cycling, also called bicycling or biking, is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, or for sport. Persons engaged in cycling are cyclists or bicyclists...

", primarily riding on a road bike. Prior to his Presidential bid, Kerry was known to have participated in several long-distance rides
Challenge riding
Challenge riding is a form of cycling where the riders challenge themselves rather than each other. Some challenge rides are charity events or pledge rides. Some are organised as pre- or early-season training events...

 (centuries). Even during his many campaigns, he was reported to have visited bicycle stores in both his home state and elsewhere. His staff requested recumbent stationary bikes for his hotel rooms.

Kerry appeared in a cameo as himself on the April 30, 1992, episode of the hit television sitcom Cheers
Cheers
Cheers is an American situation comedy television series that ran for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993. It was produced by Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions, in association with Paramount Network Television for NBC, and was created by the team of James Burrows, Glen Charles, and Les Charles...

, in the episode, "Bar Wars VI: This Time It's For Real."

In 2003, Kerry was diagnosed with and successfully treated for prostate cancer
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

.

Family


Kerry was married to Julia Thorne
Julia Thorne
Julia Stimson Thorne was a writer and the first wife of U.S. Senator John Kerry.-Early life:Thorne was born in New York City. She was the daughter of Alice Smith Barry and Landon Ketchum Thorne, Jr. Her brothers are Landon Ketchum Thorne III of Beaufort, South Carolina and her twin brother David...

 in 1970, and they had two daughters together: Alexandra
Alexandra Kerry
Alexandra Forbes Kerry is a film producer and film director.Alexandra Kerry is the elder daughter of current Massachusetts Senator and 2004 US Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. Her mother was Julia Thorne, who was married to John Kerry from 1970 until their divorce in 1988. Alexandra...

 and Vanessa
Vanessa Kerry
Vanessa Bradford Kerry is the younger daughter of John Kerry and his first wife, Julia Thorne. She gained national recognition while campaigning for her father during the 2004 presidential election....

. Alexandra was born on September 5, 1973, days before Kerry began law school. A graduate of Milton Academy
Milton Academy
Milton Academy is a coeducational, independent preparatory, boarding and day school in Milton, Massachusetts consisting of a grade 9–12 Upper School and a grade K–8 Lower School. Boarding is offered starting in 9th grade...

 and Brown University
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

, she received her M.F.A. in June 2004 from the AFI Conservatory
AFI Conservatory
The AFI Conservatory is a division of the American Film Institute founded in 1969, located in Hollywood's Griffith Park. The school is the only existing Master of Fine Arts conservatory in advanced film education...

. She is a documentary filmmaker. Vanessa was born on December 31, 1976. She is a graduate of Phillips Academy
Phillips Academy
Phillips Academy is a selective, co-educational independent boarding high school for boarding and day students in grades 9–12, along with a post-graduate year...

 and Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

, and attended Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School
Harvard Medical School is the graduate medical school of Harvard University. It is located in the Longwood Medical Area of the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts....

 and a master's program in health policy at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

. Both daughters were active in their father's 2004 Presidential campaign.

In 1982 Thorne, who was suffering from severe depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

, asked Kerry for a separation. They were divorced on July 25, 1988, and the marriage was formally annulled
Annulment
Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place...

 in 1997. "After 14 years as a political wife, I associated politics only with anger, fear and loneliness" she wrote in A Change of Heart, her book about depression. Thorne later married Richard Charlesworth, an architect
Architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...

, and moved to Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman, Montana
Bozeman is a city in and the county seat of Gallatin County, Montana, United States, in the southwestern part of the state. The 2010 census put Bozeman's population at 37,280 making it the fourth largest city in the state. It is the principal city of the Bozeman micropolitan area, which consists...

, where she became active in local environmental groups such as the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Thorne supported Kerry's 2004 presidential run. She died of cancer on April 27, 2006.

Kerry and his second wife, Teresa Simões-Ferreira Heinz
Teresa Heinz Kerry
Maria Teresa Thierstein Simões-Ferreira Heinz , known as Teresa Heinz, is an American businesswoman and philanthropist, the widow of former U.S. Senator H. John Heinz III , and the wife of U.S...

, the widow of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 Senator H. John Heinz III
H. John Heinz III
Henry John Heinz III was an American politician from Pennsylvania, a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate .-Early life:...

, a Republican, and former United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 interpreter, were introduced to each other by John Heinz at an Earth Day
Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. The name and concept of Earth Day was allegedly pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was by San Francisco, the...

 rally in 1990. They did not meet again until after John Heinz's death, at the 1992 Earth Summit
Earth Summit
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992.-Overview:...

 in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

. They married on May 26, 1995, in Nantucket
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nantucket is an island south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the United States. Together with the small islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, it constitutes the town of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the coterminous Nantucket County, which are consolidated. Part of the town is designated the Nantucket...

. John Kerry's stepsons Teresa's three sons from her previous marriage are H. John Heinz IV, André Heinz
André Heinz
André Thierstein Heinz is an American environmentalist.Heinz is the son of Teresa Heinz and the late Henry John Heinz III, the brother of H...

 and Christopher Heinz
Christopher Heinz
Christopher Drake Heinz is an American businessman.He is the youngest son of United States Senator Henry John Heinz III and Teresa Heinz's children, the brother of H. John Heinz IV and André Heinz, the stepson of Senator John Kerry, and stepbrother of Alexandra Kerry and Vanessa Kerry.Heinz is a...

, who married Alexandra DeRuyter Lewis on February 10, 2007.

The Forbes 400
Forbes 400
The Forbes 400 or 400 Richest Americans is a list published by Forbes Magazine magazine of the wealthiest 400 Americans, ranked by net worth. The list is published annually in September, and 2010 marks the 29th issue. The 400 was started by Malcom Forbes in 1982 and treats those in the list like...

 survey estimated in 2004 that Teresa Heinz Kerry had a net worth
Net worth
In business, net worth is the total assets minus total outside liabilities of an individual or a company. For a company, this is called shareholders' preference and may be referred to as book value. Net worth is stated as at a particular year in time...

 of $750 million. However, estimates have frequently varied, ranging from around $165 million to as high as $3.2 billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

, according to a study in the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

. Regardless of which figure is correct, Kerry is the wealthiest U.S. Senator. Kerry is wealthy in his own name, and is the beneficiary of at least four trusts inherited from Forbes family
Forbes family
The Forbes family is a wealthy extended American family originating in Boston. The family's fortune originates from trading between North America and China in the 19th century plus other investments in the same period. The name descends from Scottish immigrants, and can be traced back to Sir John...

 members, including his mother, who died in 2002. Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

 magazine (a major business magazine named for an unrelated Forbes family
Forbes family (publishers)
The Forbes family includes a number of related people that founded, and have worked for, Forbes magazine. Noted members include B.C. Forbes, the founder of the magazine; his son and successor, Malcolm Forbes; and Malcom's son, Steve Forbes, current President and CEO of the company...

) estimated that if elected, Kerry would have been the third-richest U.S. President in history when adjusted for inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

. This assessment was based on the couple's combined assets, but Kerry and Heinz signed a prenuptial agreement
Prenuptial agreement
A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into prior to marriage, civil union or any other agreement prior to the main agreement by the people intending to marry or contract with each other...

 that keeps their assets separate. Kerry's financial disclosure form for 2002 put his personal assets in the range of $409,000 to $1.8 million, with additional assets held jointly by Kerry and his wife in the range of $300,000 to $600,000.

Religious beliefs



A Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, Kerry was said to carry a rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

, a prayer book, and a St. Christopher medal (the patron saint of travelers) when he campaigned. However, while Kerry is personally against abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, he supports a woman's legal right to have one, which puts him at odds with the Catholic Church. Similar tension exists between the Church and several other Catholic national political figures, including Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani
Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani KBE is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from New York. He served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001....

, George Pataki
George Pataki
George Elmer Pataki is an American politician who was the 53rd Governor of New York. A member of the Republican Party, Pataki served three consecutive four-year terms from January 1, 1995 until December 31, 2006.- Early life :...

, Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi is the Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives and served as the 60th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011...

, Tom Ridge
Tom Ridge
Thomas Joseph "Tom" Ridge is an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives , the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania , Assistant to the President for Homeland Security , and the first United States Secretary of Homeland Security...

, Tom Vilsack
Tom Vilsack
Thomas James "Tom" Vilsack is an American politician, a member of the Democratic Party, and presently the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He served as the 40th Governor of the state of Iowa. He was first elected in 1998 and re-elected to a second four-year term in 2002...

 (one of his possible vice-presidential choices in the 2004 election), Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

, and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

. Discussing his faith, Kerry said, "I thought of being a priest. I was very religious while at school in Switzerland. I was an altar boy and prayed all the time. I was very centered around the Mass and the church." He also said that the Letters of Paul
Pauline epistles
The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents...

 moved him the most, stating that they taught him to "not feel sorry for myself."

According to Christianity Today
Christianity Today
Christianity Today is an Evangelical Christian periodical based in Carol Stream, Illinois. It is the flagship publication of its parent company Christianity Today International, claiming circulation figures of 140,000 and readership of 290,000...

, Kerry remarks about his faith:

Childhood


Kerry was born in Aurora
Aurora, Colorado
City of Aurora is a Home Rule Municipality spanning Arapahoe, Adams, and Douglas counties in Colorado. Aurora is an eastern suburb of the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area . The city is the third most populous city in the Colorado and the 56th most populous city in the...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital
Fitzsimons Army Medical Center
The Fitzsimons Army Medical Center was a medical facility of the United States military during the 20th century located on in Aurora, Colorado...

 on December 11, 1943; his father was a member of the Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Corps
The United States Army Air Corps was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on 2 July 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces , established in 1941...

 at the time.

Kerry has said that his first memory is from when he was three years old, of holding his crying mother's hand while they walked through the broken glass and rubble of her childhood home in Saint-Briac
Saint-Briac-sur-Mer
Saint-Briac-sur-Mer , is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine Department of Brittany in north-western France.-Demographics:Inhabitants of Saint-Briac-sur-Mer are called Briacins.As of the census of 1999, the town had a population of...

, France. This visit came two and a half years after the United States had liberated Saint-Briac from the Nazis on August 14, 1944. The family estate, known as Les Essarts
Les Essarts, Forbes family estate
is the Forbes family estate at Saint-Briac, France, and the international family seat of the descendants of James Grant Forbes , a member of the Forbes family of China and Boston who settled in Brittany at...

, had been occupied and used as a Nazi headquarters during the war. When the Germans abandoned it, they bombed Les Essarts and burned it down.

The sprawling estate was rebuilt in 1954. Kerry and his parents would often spend the summer holidays there. During these summers, he became good friends with his first cousin Brice Lalonde
Brice Lalonde
Brice Lalonde is a former green party leader in France, who ran for President of France in the Presidential elections, 1981. In 1988 he was named Minister of the Environment, and in 1990 founded the green party Ecology Generation...

, a future Socialist and Green Party leader in France, who ran for president of France in 1981.

While his father was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway, Kerry was sent to Massachusetts to attend boarding school
Boarding school
A boarding school is a school where some or all pupils study and live during the school year with their fellow students and possibly teachers and/or administrators. The word 'boarding' is used in the sense of "bed and board," i.e., lodging and meals...

. In 1957, he attended the Fessenden School
Fessenden School
The Fessenden School is an independent day and boarding school for boys, founded in 1903 by Frederick J. Fessenden, and located at 250 Waltham Street, West Newton, Massachusetts, United States, on a campus....

 in West Newton, a village in Newton, Massachusetts
Newton, Massachusetts
Newton is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States bordered to the east by Boston. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Newton was 85,146, making it the eleventh largest city in the state.-Villages:...

. The Fessenden School is the oldest all-boys independent junior boarding school in the country. There he met and became friends with Richard Pershing, grandson of First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 U.S. Gen. John Joseph Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

. Former Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

 also attended the Fessenden School, although several years prior to Kerry.

The following year, he enrolled at St. Paul's School
St. Paul's School (Concord, New Hampshire)
St. Paul's School is a highly selective college-preparatory, coeducational boarding school in Concord, New Hampshire affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The school is one of only six remaining 100% residential boarding schools in the U.S. The New Hampshire campus currently serves 533 students,...

 in Concord, New Hampshire
Concord, New Hampshire
The city of Concord is the capital of the state of New Hampshire in the United States. It is also the county seat of Merrimack County. As of the 2010 census, its population was 42,695....

, and graduated from there in 1962. Kerry learned skills in public speaking
Public speaking
Public speaking is the process of speaking to a group of people in a structured, deliberate manner intended to inform, influence, or entertain the listeners...

 and began developing an interest in politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

. In his free time, he enjoyed ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 and lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

, which he played on teams captained by classmate Robert S. Mueller III
Robert Mueller
Robert Swan Mueller III is the 6th and current Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation .-Early life:...

, the current director of the FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

. Kerry also played bass guitar
Bass guitar
The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

 for the prep school's band The Electras, which produced an album in 1961. Only five hundred copies were made, one of which was auctioned on eBay
EBay
eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

 in 2004 for $2,551.

In 1959, Kerry founded the John Winant Society at St. Paul's to debate the issues of the day; the Society still exists there. In November 1960, Kerry gave his first political speech, in favor of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

's election to the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

.

In 1962, Kerry was a volunteer for Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

's first Senatorial
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 campaign. The summer after his graduation from St. Paul's, he dated Janet Jennings Auchincloss, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's half-sister. Auchincloss invited Kerry to visit her family's estate, Hammersmith Farm
Hammersmith Farm
Hammersmith Farm is a Victorian mansion and surrounding property located in Newport, Rhode Island, United States and was the childhood home to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. The property hosted the wedding reception of Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy...

, in Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

, where Kerry met President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 for the first time.

According to Kerry, when he told the president he was about to enter Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

, Kennedy grimaced, because he had gone to rival Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. Kerry later recalled, "He smiled at me, laughed and said: 'Oh, don't worry about it. You know I'm a Yale man too now.'" According to Kerry "The President uttered that famous comment about how he had the best of two worlds now: a Harvard education and Yale degree", in reference to the honorary degree
Honorary degree
An honorary degree or a degree honoris causa is an academic degree for which a university has waived the usual requirements, such as matriculation, residence, study, and the passing of examinations...

 he had received from Yale a few months earlier. Later that day, a White House photographer snapped a photo of Kerry sailing with Kennedy and his family in Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay
Narragansett Bay is a bay and estuary on the north side of Rhode Island Sound. Covering 147 mi2 , the Bay forms New England's largest estuary, which functions as an expansive natural harbor, and includes a small archipelago...

.

Yale University


In 1962, Kerry entered Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

, majoring in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree
Academic degree
An academic degree is a position and title within a college or university that is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree...

 in 1966. Kerry played on the soccer, hockey
Hockey
Hockey is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent's goal using a hockey stick.-Etymology:...

, lacrosse
Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played in the United States and Canada. It is a contact sport which requires padding. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh...

 and fencing teams
Fencing
Fencing, which is also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons.Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games...

; in addition, he took flying lessons.

In his sophomore year, Kerry became the Chairman of the Liberal Party of the Yale Political Union
Yale Political Union
The Yale Political Union , a debate society now the largest student organization at Yale University, was founded in 1934 by Professor Alfred Whitney Griswold , to enliven the university's political culture of the time. It was modelled on the Cambridge Union Society and Oxford Union...

, and a year later he served as President of the Union. Amongst his influential teachers in this period was Professor H. Bradford Westerfield
H. Bradford Westerfield
Holt Bradford Westerfield was a Damon Wells Professor of International Studies and professor of political science at Yale University....

, who was himself a former President of the Political Union. His involvement with the Political Union gave him an opportunity to be involved with important issues of the day, such as the civil rights movement
African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968)
The African-American Civil Rights Movement refers to the movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring voting rights to them. This article covers the phase of the movement between 1955 and 1968, particularly in the South...

 and Kennedy's New Frontier
New Frontier
The term New Frontier was used by Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy in his acceptance speech in the 1960 United States presidential election to the Democratic National Convention at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as the Democratic slogan to inspire America to support him...

 program. He was also a member of the secretive Skull and Bones Society
Skull and Bones
Skull and Bones is an undergraduate senior or secret society at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. It is a traditional peer society to Scroll and Key and Wolf's Head, as the three senior class 'landed societies' at Yale....

. He also traveled to Switzerland through AIESEC
AIESEC
AIESEC is a global youth organisation that develops leadership capabilities through their internal leadership programmes and engaging students and graduates in international student exchange and internship programmes for profit and non-profit organisations. Its international office is in...

 Yale.

Under the guidance of the speaking coach and history professor Rollin Osterweis, Kerry won many debates against other college students from across the nation. In March 1965, as the Vietnam War escalated, he won the Ten Eyck prize as the best orator in the junior class for a speech that was critical of U.S. foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

. In the speech he said, "It is the spectre of Western imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 that causes more fear among Africans and Asians than communism and thus, it is self-defeating."

Kerry, viewed as a capable speaker, was chosen to give the class oration at graduation. His speech was a broad criticism of American foreign policy, including the Vietnam War, in which he would soon participate.

Duty on the USS Gridley


On February 18, 1966, Kerry enlisted in the Naval Reserve. He began his active duty military service on August 19, 1966. After completing sixteen weeks of Officer Candidate School
Officer Candidate School
Officer Candidate School or Officer Cadet School are institutions which train civilians and enlisted personnel in order for them to gain a commission as officers in the armed forces of a country....

 at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...

, Kerry received his officer's commission on December 16, 1966. During the 2004 election, Kerry posted his military records at his website, and permitted reporters to inspect his medical records. In 2005, Kerry released his military and medical records to the representatives of three news organizations, but has not authorized full public access to those records.

Kerry's first tour of duty was as an ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

 on the guided missile
Guided Missile
Guided Missile is a London based independent record label set up by Paul Kearney in 1994.Guided Missile has always focused on 'the underground', preferring to put out a steady flow of releases and developing the numerous GM events around London and beyond....

 frigate
Frigate
A frigate is any of several types of warship, the term having been used for ships of various sizes and roles over the last few centuries.In the 17th century, the term was used for any warship built for speed and maneuverability, the description often used being "frigate-built"...

  in 1968. The executive officer of the Gridley described the deployment: "We deployed from San Diego to the Vietnam theatre in early 1968 after only a six-month turnaround, and spent most of a four month deployment on rescue station in the Gulf of Tonkin
Gulf of Tonkin
The Gulf of Tonkin is an arm of the South China Sea, lying off the coast of northeastern Vietnam.-Etymology:The name Tonkin, written "東京" in Hán tự and Đông Kinh in romanised Vietnamese, means "Eastern Capital", and is the former toponym for Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam...

, standing by to pick up downed aviators."

During his tour on the Gridley, Kerry requested duty in Vietnam, listing as his first preference a position as the commander of a Fast Patrol Craft
Fast Patrol Craft
Patrol Craft Fast , also known as Swift Boats, were all-aluminum, long, shallow-draft vessels operated by the U.S. Navy, initially to patrol the coastal areas and later for work in the interior waterways as part of the Brown Water Navy to interdict Vietcong movement of arms and munitions,...

 (PCF), also known as a "Swift boat." These 50 feet (15.2 m) boats have aluminum hull
Hull (watercraft)
A hull is the watertight body of a ship or boat. Above the hull is the superstructure and/or deckhouse, where present. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.The structure of the hull varies depending on the vessel type...

s and have little or no armor, but are heavily armed and rely on speed. "I didn't really want to get involved in the war", Kerry said in a book of Vietnam reminiscences published in 1986. "When I signed up for the swift boats, they had very little to do with the war. They were engaged in coastal patrolling and that's what I thought I was going to be doing." However, his second choice of billet was on a river patrol boat, or "PBR", which at the time was serving a more dangerous duty on the rivers of Vietnam.

On June 16, 1968, Kerry was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, junior grade
Lieutenant, Junior Grade
Lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, United States Merchant Marine USMM, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade...

. On June 20, 1968, he left the Gridley for Swift boat training at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado
Coronado, California
Coronado, also known as Coronado Island, is an affluent resort city located in San Diego County, California, 5.2 miles from downtown San Diego. Its population was 24,697 at the 2010 census, up from 24,100 at the 2000 census. U.S. News and World Report lists Coronado as one of the most expensive...

.

Swift boat duty


On November 17, 1968, Kerry reported for duty at Coastal Squadron 1 in Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay is a deep-water bay in Vietnam in the province of Khánh Hòa. It is located at an inlet of the South China Sea situated on the southeastern coast of Vietnam, between Phan Rang and Nha Trang, approximately 290 kilometers / 180 miles northeast of Hồ Chí Minh City / Saigon.Cam Ranh is...

 in South Vietnam
South Vietnam
South Vietnam was a state which governed southern Vietnam until 1975. It received international recognition in 1950 as the "State of Vietnam" and later as the "Republic of Vietnam" . Its capital was Saigon...

. In his role as an officer in charge of Swift boats, Kerry led five-man crews on a number of patrols into enemy-controlled areas. His first command was Swift boat PCF-44, from December 6, 1968 to January 21, 1969, when the crew was disbanded. They were based at Coastal Division 13 at Cat Lo from December 13, 1968, to January 6, 1969. Otherwise, they were stationed at Coastal Division 11 at An Thoi. On January 30, 1969, Kerry took charge of PCF-94 and its crew, which he led until he departed An Thoi on March 26, 1969, and subsequently the crew was disbanded.

On January 22, 1969, Kerry and several other officers had a meeting in Saigon with Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

 Elmo Zumwalt
Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr.
Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr. was an American naval officer and the youngest man to serve as Chief of Naval Operations. As an admiral and later the 19th Chief of Naval Operations, Zumwalt played a major role in U.S. military history, especially during the Vietnam War. A highly-decorated war veteran,...

, the commander of U.S. Naval forces in Vietnam, and U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 General Creighton Abrams
Creighton Abrams
Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. was a general in the United States Army who commanded military operations in the Vietnam War from 1968–72 which saw U.S. troop strength in Vietnam fall from a peak of 543,000 to 49,000. He served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1972 until shortly...

, the overall commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Kerry and the other officers reported that the "free-fire zone
Free-fire zone
A free-fire zone in U.S. military parlance is a fire control measure, used for coordination between adjacent combat units. The definition used in the Vietnam war by US troops may be found in field manual FM 6-20:- Free-fire zones in the Vietnam War :...

" policy was alienating the Vietnamese and that the Swift boats' actions were not accomplishing their ostensible goal of interdicting Viet Cong supply lines. According to his biographer, Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley
Douglas Brinkley is an American author, professor of history at Rice University and a fellow at the James Baker Institute for Public Policy. Brinkley is the history commentator for CBS News and a contributing editor to the magazine Vanity Fair...

, Kerry and the other visiting officers felt their concerns were dismissed with what amounted to a pep talk (Tour of Duty, pp. 254–261).

Military honors


During the night of December 2, 1968 and early morning of December 3, 1968, Kerry was in charge of a small boat operating near a peninsula north of Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay is a deep-water bay in Vietnam in the province of Khánh Hòa. It is located at an inlet of the South China Sea situated on the southeastern coast of Vietnam, between Phan Rang and Nha Trang, approximately 290 kilometers / 180 miles northeast of Hồ Chí Minh City / Saigon.Cam Ranh is...

 together with a Swift boat (PCF-60). According to Kerry and the two crewmen who accompanied him that night, Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis, they surprised a group of men unloading sampan
Sampan
A sampan is a relatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat from long. Some sampans include a small shelter on board, and may be used as a permanent habitation on inland waters. Sampans are generally used for transportation in coastal areas or rivers, and are often used as traditional fishing boats...

s at a river crossing, who began running and failed to obey an order to stop. As the men fled, Kerry and his crew opened fire on the sampans and destroyed them, then rapidly left. During this encounter, Kerry received a shrapnel wound in the left arm above the elbow. It was for this injury that Kerry received his first Purple Heart
Purple Heart
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

.

Kerry received his second Purple Heart for a wound received in action on the Bo De River on February 20, 1969. The plan had been for the Swift boats to be accompanied by support helicopters. On the way up the Bo De, however, the helicopters were attacked. They returned to their base to refuel and were unable to return to the mission for several hours.

As the Swift boats reached the Cua Lon River
Cửa Lớn River
The Cửa Lớn River is a river of Vietnam. It flows through Ca Mau Province for 58 kilometres....

, Kerry's boat was hit by a RPG
Rocket propelled grenade
A rocket-propelled grenade is a shoulder-fired, anti-tank weapon system which fires rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. These warheads are affixed to a rocket motor and stabilized in flight with fins. Some types of RPG are reloadable while others are single-use. RPGs, with the exception of...

 round, and a piece of shrapnel hit Kerry's left leg, wounding him. Thereafter, they had no more trouble, and reached the Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Thailand
The Gulf of Thailand , also known in to Malays as Teluk Siam literally meant Gulf of Siam, is a shallow arm of the South China Sea.-Geography:...

 safely. Kerry still has shrapnel in his left thigh because the doctors tending to him decided to remove the damaged tissue and close the wound with sutures rather than make a wide opening to remove the shrapnel. Kerry received his second Purple Heart for this injury, but like several others wounded earlier that day, he did not lose any time off from duty.

Eight days later, on February 28, 1969, came the events for which Kerry was awarded his Silver Star. On this occasion, Kerry was in tactical command of his Swift boat and two others in an eight boat formation. Their mission on the Duong Keo river included bringing a demolition team and dozens of South Vietnamese Marines to destroy enemy sampan
Sampan
A sampan is a relatively flat bottomed Chinese wooden boat from long. Some sampans include a small shelter on board, and may be used as a permanent habitation on inland waters. Sampans are generally used for transportation in coastal areas or rivers, and are often used as traditional fishing boats...

s, structures and bunkers as described in the story The Death Of PCF 43. Running into an ambush, Kerry "directed the boats to turn to the beach and charge the Viet Cong positions" and he "expertly directed" his boat's fire and coordinated the deployment of the South Vietnamese troops, according to the original medal citation (signed by Admiral Zumwalt). Going a short distance farther, Kerry's boat was the target of an RPG round; as the boat beached at the site, a VC with a rocket launcher jumped and ran from a spider hole. While the boat's gunner opened fire, wounding the VC on the leg, and while the other boats approached and offered cover fire, Kerry jumped from the boat and chased the VC and killed him, capturing a loaded rocket launcher.

Kerry's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

 George Elliott, joked to Douglas Brinkley in 2003 that he didn't know whether to court-martial Kerry for beaching the boat without orders or give him a medal for saving the crew. Elliott recommended Kerry for the Silver Star, and Zumwalt flew into An Thoi to personally award medals to Kerry and the rest of the sailors involved in the mission. The Navy's account of Kerry's actions is presented in the original medal citation signed by Zumwalt. The engagement was documented in an after-action report, a press release written on March 1, 1969, and a historical summary dated March 17, 1969.

On March 13, 1969, five Swift boats were returning to base together on the Bay Hap river from their missions that day, after a firefight earlier in the day (during which time Kerry received a slight shrapnel wound in the buttocks from blowing up a rice bunker), and debarking some but not all of the passengers at a small village. They approached a fishing weir (a series of poles across the river for hanging nets), so that one group of boats went around left, hugging the shore, and a group with Kerry's 94 boat went around right along the shoreline. A mine was detonated directly beneath the lead boat, PCF-3, as it crossed the weir to the left, lifting PCF-3 completely into the air.

James Rassmann
James Rassmann
James Rassmann is a former Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department lieutenant who served with the U.S. Army's 5th Special Forces Group in the Vietnam War in 1968 and 1969. Now a resident of the U.S. state of Oregon, he has credited U.S...

, a Green Beret
United States Army Special Forces
The United States Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets because of their distinctive service headgear, are a special operations force tasked with six primary missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, and...

 advisor who was aboard PCF-94, was knocked overboard when, according to witnesses and the documentation of the event, a mine or rocket exploded close to the boat. According to the documentation for the event, Kerry's arm was injured when he was thrown against a bulkhead during the explosion. PCF 94 returned to the scene and Kerry rescued Rassmann from the water. Kerry received the Bronze Star for his actions during this incident; he also received his third Purple Heart.

After the crew of PCF-3 had been rescued, and the most seriously wounded sailors evacuated by two of the PCFs, PCF 94 and another boat remained behind and helped salvage the stricken boat together with a damage-control party that had been immediately dispatched to the scene.

Controversy



As the presidential campaign of 2004 developed, approximately 200 Vietnam veterans formed the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), subsequently renamed Swift Vets and POWs for Truth
Swift Vets and POWs for Truth
Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, formerly known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth , was a political group of United States Swift boat veterans and former prisoners of war of the Vietnam War, formed during the 2004 presidential election campaign for the purpose of opposing John Kerry's candidacy...

, which held press conferences, ran ads and endorsed a book questioning Kerry's service record and his military awards. The group included several members of Kerry's unit, such as Larry Thurlow, who commanded a swift boat alongside of Kerry's, and Stephen Gardner, who served on Kerry's boat.

Return from Vietnam


After Kerry's third qualifying wound, he was entitled per Navy regulations to re-assignment away from combat duties. Navy records show that Kerry's preferred choice for re-assignment was as an aide in Boston, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 or Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....



On March 26, 1969, after a final patrol the night before, Kerry was transferred to Cam Ranh Bay to await his orders. He was there for five or six days and left Vietnam in early April. On April 11, 1969, he reported to the Brooklyn-based Atlantic Military Sea Transportation Service, where he would remain on active duty for the following year as a personal aide to an officer, Rear Admiral Walter Schlech. On January 1, 1970 Kerry was temporarily promoted to full Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

. Kerry had agreed to an extension of his active duty obligation from December 1969 to August 1970 in order to perform Swift Boat duty, but in January, 1970, he requested early discharge in order to run for Congress the following fall. He was discharged from active duty on March 1, 1970.

John Kerry was on active duty in the United States Navy from August 1966 until January 1970. He continued to serve in the Naval Reserve until February 1978. Kerry lost at least five friends in the war including Yale classmate Richard Pershing, who was killed in action
Killed in action
Killed in action is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to...

 on February 17, 1968.

Anti-war activism (1970–1971)



After returning to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Vietnam Veterans Against the War is a tax-exempt non-profit organization and corporation, originally created to oppose the Vietnam War. VVAW describes itself as a national veterans' organization that campaigns for peace, justice, and the rights of all United States military veterans...

 (VVAW). Then numbering about 20,000, VVAW was considered by some (including the administration of President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

) to be an effective, if controversial, component of the antiwar movement.

On April 22, 1971, Kerry became the first Vietnam veteran to testify before Congress about the war, when he appeared before a Senate committee hearing on proposals relating to ending the war. He was still a member of the United States Navy Reserve, holding the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. Wearing green fatigues and service ribbons, he spoke for nearly two hours with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as...

 in what has been named the Fulbright Hearing
Fulbright Hearing
The Fulbright Hearings refers to any of the set of U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Vietnam conducted between 1966 and 1971. This article concerns those held by the U.S. Senate in 1971 relating to the Vietnam War. By April 1971, with at least seven pending legislative proposals...

, after the Chairman of the proceedings, Senator J.W. Fulbright. Kerry began with a prepared speech, in which he presented the conclusions of the Winter Soldier Investigation
Winter Soldier Investigation
The "Winter Soldier Investigation" was a media event sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War from January 31, 1971 – February 2, 1971. It was intended to publicize war crimes and atrocities by the United States Armed Forces and their allies in the Vietnam War...

, and then went on to address larger policy issues.

The day after this testimony, Kerry participated in a demonstration with thousands of other veterans in which he and other veterans threw their medals and ribbons over a fence erected at the front steps of the United States Capitol
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

 building to dramatize their opposition to the war. Jack Smith, a Marine
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, read a statement explaining why the veterans were returning their military awards to the government. For more than two hours, almost 1000 angry veterans tossed their medals, ribbons, hats, jackets, and military papers over the fence. Each veteran gave his or her name, hometown, branch of service and a statement. Kerry threw some of his decorations as well as some given to him by other veterans to throw. As Kerry threw his decorations over the fence, his statement was: "I'm not doing this for any violent reasons, but for peace and justice, and to try and make this country wake up once and for all." The documentary film Sir! No Sir!
Sir! No Sir!
Sir! No Sir! is a 2005 Displaced Films and BBC documentary film about the anti-war movement within the ranks of the United States Military during the Vietnam War....

 includes archival footage of Kerry at the demonstration: he is one of several young men seen throwing things over the fence.

Media appearances


Because Kerry was a decorated veteran who took a stand against the government's official position, he was frequently interviewed by broadcast and print media. He was able to use these occasions to bring the themes of his Senate testimony to a wider audience.

For example, Kerry appeared more than once on The Dick Cavett Show
Dick Cavett
Richard Alva "Dick" Cavett is a former American television talk show host known for his conversational style and in-depth discussion of issues...

 on ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 television. On one Cavett program (June 30, 1971), in debating John O'Neill
John O'Neill (Vietnam veteran)
John Ellis O'Neill is a Vietnam War veteran, lawyer, and the spokesman for Swift Vets and POWs for Truth .-Background:...

, Kerry argued that some of the policies instituted by the U.S. military leaders in Vietnam, such as free-fire zone
Free-fire zone
A free-fire zone in U.S. military parlance is a fire control measure, used for coordination between adjacent combat units. The definition used in the Vietnam war by US troops may be found in field manual FM 6-20:- Free-fire zones in the Vietnam War :...

s and burning noncombatants' houses, were contrary to the laws of war
Laws of war
The law of war is a body of law concerning acceptable justifications to engage in war and the limits to acceptable wartime conduct...

. In the Washington Star
Washington Star
The Washington Star, previously known as the Washington Star-News and the Washington Evening Star, was a daily afternoon newspaper published in Washington, D.C. between 1852 and 1981. For most of that time, it was the city's newspaper of record, and the longtime home to columnist Mary McGrory and...

 newspaper (June 6, 1971), he recounted how he and other Swift boat officers had become disillusioned by the contrast between what the leaders told them and what they saw: "That's when I realized I could never remain silent about the realities of the war in Vietnam."

On NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

's Meet The Press
Meet the Press
Meet the Press is a weekly American television news/interview program produced by NBC. It is the longest-running television series in American broadcasting history, despite bearing little resemblance to the original format of the program seen in its television debut on November 6, 1947. It has been...

 in 1971, Kerry was asked whether he had personally committed atrocities in Vietnam. He responded:

Operation POW


Kerry's prominence also made him a frequent leader and spokesman at antiwar events around the country in 1971. One of particular note was Operation POW, organized by the VVAW in Massachusetts. The protest got its name from the group's concern that Americans were prisoners of the Vietnam War, as well as to honor American POWs held captive by North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

.

The event sought to tie antiwar activism to patriotic themes. Over the Memorial Day
Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War...

 weekend, veterans and other participants marched from Concord
Concord, Massachusetts
Concord is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 17,668. Although a small town, Concord is noted for its leading roles in American history and literature.-History:...

 to a rally on Boston Common. The plan was to invoke the spirit of the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 and Paul Revere
Paul Revere
Paul Revere was an American silversmith and a patriot in the American Revolution. He is most famous for alerting Colonial militia of approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride...

 by spending successive nights at the sites of the Battle of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill
Battle of Bunker Hill
The Battle of Bunker Hill took place on June 17, 1775, mostly on and around Breed's Hill, during the Siege of Boston early in the American Revolutionary War...

, culminating in a Memorial Day rally with a public reading of the Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

.

The second night of the march, May 29, 1971, was the occasion for Kerry's only arrest, when the participants tried to camp on the village green in Lexington
Lexington, Massachusetts
Lexington is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 31,399 at the 2010 census. This town is famous for being the site of the first shot of the American Revolution, in the Battle of Lexington on April 19, 1775.- History :...

. At 2:30 a.m. on May 30, 1971, local and state police awoke and arrested 441 demonstrators, including Kerry, for trespassing. All were given the Miranda Warning
Miranda warning
The Miranda warning is a warning given by police in the United States to criminal suspects in police custody before they are interrogated to preserve the admissibility of their statements against them in criminal proceedings. In Miranda v...

 and were hauled away on school buses to spend the night at the Lexington Public Works Garage. Kerry and the other protesters later paid a $5 fine, and were released. The mass arrests caused a community backlash and ended up giving positive coverage to the VVAW.

Despite his role in Operation POW and other VVAW events, Kerry eventually quit the organization over leadership differences. Kerry has been criticized regarding VVAW—see John Kerry VVAW controversy
John Kerry VVAW controversy
Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for President of the United States in 2004, first came to national prominence through his spokesman role for Vietnam Veterans Against the War before the US Congress....

 for more details.

1972 campaign


In February 1972, after Kerry previously passed on an opportunity to run in another district, his wife, Julia
Julia Thorne
Julia Stimson Thorne was a writer and the first wife of U.S. Senator John Kerry.-Early life:Thorne was born in New York City. She was the daughter of Alice Smith Barry and Landon Ketchum Thorne, Jr. Her brothers are Landon Ketchum Thorne III of Beaufort, South Carolina and her twin brother David...

 bought a house in Worcester
Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....

. Residence there would have required Kerry to run for Congress
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 against an incumbent Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, Harold D. Donohue. Instead however, the couple rented an apartment in Lowell
Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 106,519. It is the fourth largest city in the state. Lowell and Cambridge are the county seats of Middlesex County...

. The incumbent in that district, F. Bradford Morse
F. Bradford Morse
Frank Bradford Morse was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts. He had a notable career in the United States Congress and the United Nations. On Capitol Hill he served in various capacities for nearly twenty years, the last twelve as Congressman from Lowell,...

, was a Republican who was thought to be retiring.

Counting Kerry, the Democratic primary race in 1972 had 10 candidates. One of these was State Representative Anthony R. DiFruscia of Lawrence
Lawrence, Massachusetts
Lawrence is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States on the Merrimack River. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a total population of 76,377. Surrounding communities include Methuen to the north, Andover to the southwest, and North Andover to the southeast. It and Salem are...

. Both Kerry's and DiFuscia's campaign HQs were in the same building. On the eve of the September primary, Kerry's younger brother Cameron and campaign field director Thomas J. Vallely, both then 22 years old, were found by police in the basement of this building, where the telephone lines were located. They were arrested and charged with "breaking and entering
Burglary
Burglary is a crime, the essence of which is illicit entry into a building for the purposes of committing an offense. Usually that offense will be theft, but most jurisdictions specify others which fall within the ambit of burglary...

 with the intent to commit grand larceny
Grand Larceny
Grand Larceny is a 1987 thriller film directed by Jeannot Szwarc and starring Marilu Henner, Ian McShane, Omar Sharif and Louis Jourdan.-Plot summary:...

", but the case was dismissed about a year later. At the time of the incident, DiFruscia alleged that they were trying to disrupt his get-out-the vote efforts. Vallely and Cameron Kerry maintained that they were only checking their own telephone lines because they had received an anonymous call warning that the Kerry lines would be cut.

Although Kerry's campaign was hurt by the election-day report of the arrest, he still won the primary, narrowly beating state Representative Paul J. Sheehy. DiFruscia placed third. Kerry lost in Lawrence and Lowell, his chief opponents' bases, but placed first in 18 of the district's 22 towns.

In the general election, Kerry was initially favored to defeat the Republican candidate, former state Representative Paul W. Cronin
Paul W. Cronin
Paul William Cronin was a one-term congressman of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts.Cronin was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 14, 1938 and graduated from Boston University in 1962 and the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1969...

, and an independent, Roger P. Durkin. A major obstacle, however, was the district's leading newspaper, the conservative leaning Sun. The paper editorialized against him. It also ran critical news stories about his out-of-state contributions and his "carpetbagging
Carpetbagger
Carpetbaggers was a pejorative term Southerners gave to Northerners who moved to the South during the Reconstruction era, between 1865 and 1877....

", because he had moved into the district only in April. Subsequently released "Watergate" Oval Office tape recordings of the Nixon White House showed that defeating Kerry's candidacy had attracted the personal attention of President Nixon.

The final blow came when, four days before the election, Durkin withdrew in favor of Cronin. Cronin won the election, becoming the only Republican to be elected to Congress that November in a district carried by Democratic Presidential
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 nominee
Nomination
Nomination is part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to an office, or the bestowing of an honor or award.In the context of elections for public office, a candidate who has been selected by a political party is normally said to be the nominee of that party...

 George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

.

District Attorney tenure


After Kerry's 1972 defeat, he and his wife bought a house in Lowell. He spent some time working as a fundraiser for the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), an international humanitarian organization. In September 1973, he entered Boston College Law School
Boston College Law School
Boston College Law School is one of the six professional graduate schools at Boston College. Located approximately 1.5 miles from the main Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, Boston College Law School is situated on a wooded campus in Newton, Massachusetts.With approximately 800 students and...

. In July 1974, while attending law school
Law school
A law school is an institution specializing in legal education.- Law degrees :- Canada :...

, Kerry was named executive director of Mass Action, a Massachusetts advocacy association.

He received his Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 (J.D.
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

) from Boston College in 1976. While in law school he had been a student prosecutor in the office of the District Attorney
District attorney
In many jurisdictions in the United States, a District Attorney is an elected or appointed government official who represents the government in the prosecution of criminal offenses. The district attorney is the highest officeholder in the jurisdiction's legal department and supervises a staff of...

 of Middlesex County
Middlesex County, Massachusetts
-National protected areas:* Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge* Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge* Longfellow National Historic Site* Lowell National Historical Park* Minute Man National Historical Park* Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge...

, John J. Droney. After passing the bar exam and being admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1976, he went to work in that office as a full-time prosecutor.

In January 1977, Droney promoted him to First Assistant District Attorney. In that position, Kerry had dual roles. First, he tried cases, winning convictions in a high-profile rape case and a murder. Second, he played a role in administering the office of the district attorney by initiating the creation of special white-collar and organized crime units, creating programs to address the problems of rape and other crime victims and of witnesses, and managing trial calendars to reflect case priorities. It was in this role in 1978 that Kerry announced an investigation into possible criminal charges against then Senator Edward Brooke
Edward Brooke
Edward William Brooke, III is an American politician and was elected to the United States Senate as a Republican from Massachusetts in 1966, defeating his Democratic opponent, Endicott Peabody, 60.7%–38.7%...

, regarding "misstatements" in his first divorce trial.

Lieutenant Governor tenure


In 1979, Kerry resigned from the District Attorney's office to set up a private law firm with another former prosecutor. And, although his private law practice was a success, Kerry was still interested in public office. He re-entered electoral politics by running for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
The Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts is the first in the line to discharge the powers and duties of the office of governor following the incapacitation of the Governor of Massachusetts...

 and won a narrow victory in the 1982 Democratic primary. The ticket, with Michael Dukakis
Michael Dukakis
Michael Stanley Dukakis served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts from 1975–1979 and from 1983–1991, and was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. He was born to Greek immigrants in Brookline, Massachusetts, also the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, and was the longest serving...

 as the gubernatorial candidate, won the general election without difficulty.

The position of Lieutenant Governor carried few inherent responsibilities. Dukakis, however, delegated additional matters to Kerry. In particular, Kerry's interest in environmental protection led him to become heavily involved in the issue of acid rain
Acid rain
Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions . It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen...

. His work contributed to a National Governors Association
National Governors Association
The National Governors Association , founded in 1908 as the National Governors' Conference, is funded primarily by state dues, federal grants and contracts and private contributions. NGA represents the governors of the fifty U.S. states and five U.S. territories The National Governors Association...

 resolution in 1984 that was a precursor to the 1990 amendments to the federal Clean Air Act
Clean Air Act
A Clean Air Act is one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of airborne contaminants, smog and air pollution in general. The use by governments to enforce clean air standards has contributed to an improvement in human health and longer life spans...

.

During his campaign, Kerry had argued that nuclear evacuation planning was "a sham intended to deceive Americans into believing they could survive a nuclear war".

Election for U.S. Senate


The junior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas
Paul Tsongas
Paul Efthemios Tsongas was a United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1979 to 1985. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1992 presidential election. He previously served as a U.S...

, announced in 1984 that he would be stepping down for health reasons. Kerry decided to run for the seat. As in his 1982 race for Lieutenant Governor, he did not receive the endorsement of the party regulars at the state Democratic convention. Congressman James Shannon
James Shannon
James Michael Shannon , also known as Jim Shannon, is a Democratic politician from Massachusetts. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985, and later as the Massachusetts Attorney General....

 (a favorite of House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 Speaker
Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives...

 Tip O'Neill
Tip O'Neill
Thomas Phillip "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. was an American politician. O'Neill was an outspoken liberal Democrat and influential member of the U.S. Congress, serving in the House of Representatives for 34 years and representing two congressional districts in Massachusetts...

) was the early favorite to win the nomination, and he "won broad establishment support and led in early polling." Again as in 1982, however, Kerry prevailed in a close primary. In his campaign, he promised to mix liberalism with tight budget controls. As the Democratic candidate, he was elected to the Senate despite a nationwide landslide for the re-election of Republican president Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, for whom Massachusetts voted by a narrow margin. In his acceptance speech, Kerry asserted that his win meant that the people of Massachusetts "emphatically reject the politics of selfishness and the notion that women must be treated as second-class citizens." Kerry was sworn in as a U.S. Senator in January 1985.

U.S. Senate tenure (1985–present)




Iran-Contra hearings



On April 18, 1985, a few months after taking his Senate seat, Kerry and Senator Tom Harkin
Tom Harkin
Thomas Richard "Tom" Harkin is the junior United States Senator from Iowa and a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served in the United States House of Representatives ....

 of Iowa
Iowa
Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

 traveled to Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 and met the country's president, Daniel Ortega
Daniel Ortega
José Daniel Ortega Saavedra is a Nicaraguan politician and revolutionary, currently serving as the 83rd President of Nicaragua, a position that he has held since 2007. He previously served as the 79th President, between 1985 and 1990, and for much of his life, has been a leader in the Sandinista...

. Though Ortega was democratically elected, the trip was criticized because Ortega and his leftist Sandinista government had strong ties to Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and the USSR. The Sandinista government was opposed by the right-wing CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

-backed rebels known as the Contras. While in Nicaragua, Kerry and Harkin talked to people on both sides of the conflict. Through the senators, Ortega offered a cease-fire agreement in exchange for the US dropping support of the Contras. The offer was denounced by the Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 administration as a "propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 initiative" designed to influence a House vote on a $14 million Contra aid package, but Kerry said "I am willing ... to take the risk in the effort to put to test the good faith of the Sandinistas." The House voted down the Contra aid, but Ortega flew to Moscow to accept a $200 million loan the next day, which in part prompted the House to pass a larger $27 million aid package six weeks later.

In April 1986, Kerry and Senator Christopher Dodd
Christopher Dodd
Christopher John "Chris" Dodd is an American lawyer, lobbyist, and Democratic Party politician who served as a United States Senator from Connecticut for a thirty-year period ending with the 111th United States Congress....

, a Democrat from Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, proposed that hearings be conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding charges of Contra
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

 involvement in cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 and marijuana trafficking. Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

, the Republican chairman of the committee, agreed to conduct the hearings.

Meanwhile, Kerry's staff began their own investigations and, on October 14, issued a report that exposed illegal activities on the part of Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

 Oliver North
Oliver North
Oliver Laurence North is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer, political commentator, host of War Stories with Oliver North on Fox News Channel, a military historian, and a New York Times best-selling author....

, who had set up a private network involving the National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

 and the CIA to deliver military equipment to right-wing Nicaraguan rebels (Contras). In effect, North and certain members of the President's administration were accused by Kerry's report of illegally funding and supplying armed militants without the authorization of Congress. Kerry's staff investigation, based on a year-long inquiry and interviews with fifty unnamed sources, is said to raise "serious questions about whether the United States has abided by the law in its handling of the contras over the past three years."

The Kerry Committee report
Kerry Committee report
The Kerry Committee report were hearings chaired by Senator John Kerry which found the United States Department of State had paid drug traffickers. Some of these payments were after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges or while traffickers were...

 found that "the Contra drug links included ... payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies." The US State Department paid over $806,000 to known drug traffickers to carry humanitarian assistance to the Contras. Kerry's findings provoked little reaction in the media and official Washington.

The Kerry report was a precursor to the Iran-Contra affair
Iran-Contra Affair
The Iran–Contra affair , also referred to as Irangate, Contragate or Iran-Contra-Gate, was a political scandal in the United States that came to light in November 1986. During the Reagan administration, senior Reagan administration officials and President Reagan secretly facilitated the sale of...

. On May 4, 1989, North was convicted of charges relating to the Iran/Contra controversy, including three felonies. On September 16, 1991, however, North's convictions were overturned on appeal.

George H.W. Bush administration


On November 15, 1988, at a businessmen's breakfast in East Lynn
Lynn, Massachusetts
Lynn is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 89,050 at the 2000 census. An old industrial center, Lynn is home to Lynn Beach and Lynn Heritage State Park and is about north of downtown Boston.-17th century:...

, Massachusetts, Kerry made a joke about then-President-elect
President-elect of the United States
President-elect of the United States is the title used for an incoming President of the United States in the period between the general election on Election Day in November and noon eastern standard time on Inauguration Day, January 20, during which he is not in office yet...

 George H.W. Bush and his running mate, saying "if Bush is shot, the Secret Service
United States Secret Service
The United States Secret Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The sworn members are divided among the Special Agents and the Uniformed Division. Until March 1, 2003, the Service was part of the United States...

 has orders to shoot Dan Quayle
Dan Quayle
James Danforth "Dan" Quayle served as the 44th Vice President of the United States, serving with President George H. W. Bush . He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Indiana....

." He apologized the following day.

During their investigation of Noriega, Kerry's staff found reason to believe that the Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International
Bank of Credit and Commerce International
The Bank of Credit and Commerce International was a major international bank founded in 1972 by Agha Hasan Abedi, a Pakistani financier. The Bank was registered in Luxembourg with head offices in Karachi and London. Within a decade BCCI touched its peak...

 (BCCI) had facilitated Noriega's drug trafficking and money laundering
Money laundering
Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

. This led to a separate inquiry into BCCI, and as a result, banking regulators shut down BCCI in 1991. In December 1992, Kerry and Senator Hank Brown
Hank Brown
George Hanks "Hank" Brown is a former Republican politician and U.S. Senator from Colorado who served as president of the University of Colorado system from April 2005 - January 2008.-Education:...

, a Republican from Colorado, released The BCCI Affair, a report on the BCCI scandal. The report showed that the bank was crooked and was working with terrorists
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

, including Abu Nidal
Abu Nidal
Abu Nidal , born Sabri Khalil al-Banna , was the founder of Fatah–The Revolutionary Council , a militant Palestinian group more commonly known as the Abu Nidal Organization...

. It blasted the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, the Customs Service
United States Customs Service
Until March 2003, the United States Customs Service was an agency of the U.S. federal government that collected import tariffs and performed other selected border security duties.Before it was rolled into form part of the U.S...

, the Federal Reserve Bank
Federal Reserve System
The Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913 with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907...

, as well as influential lobbyists
Lobbying
Lobbying is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies. Lobbying is done by various people or groups, from private-sector individuals or corporations, fellow legislators or government officials, or...

 and the CIA.

Kerry was criticized by some Democrats for having pursued his own party members, including former Secretary of Defense
United States Secretary of Defense
The Secretary of Defense is the head and chief executive officer of the Department of Defense of the United States of America. This position corresponds to what is generally known as a Defense Minister in other countries...

 Clark Clifford
Clark Clifford
Clark McAdams Clifford was an American lawyer who served United States Presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter, serving as United States Secretary of Defense for Johnson....

, although Republicans said he should have pressed against some Democrats even harder. The BCCI scandal was later turned over to the Manhattan District Attorney
New York County District Attorney
The New York County District Attorney is the elected district attorney for New York County , New York. The office is responsible for the prosecution of violations of New York state laws....

's office.

Precursors to presidential bid


In 1996, Kerry faced a difficult re-election fight against Governor William Weld
William Weld
William Floyd Weld is a former governor of the US state of Massachusetts. He served as that state's 68th governor from 1991 to 1997. From 1981 to 1988, he was a federal prosecutor in the United States Justice Department...

, a popular Republican incumbent who had been re-elected in 1994 with 71% of the vote. The race was covered nationwide as one of the most closely watched Senate races that year. Kerry and Weld held several debates and negotiated a campaign spending cap of $6.9 million at Kerry's Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts
Beacon Hill is a historic neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, that along with the neighboring Back Bay is home to about 26,000 people. It is a neighborhood of Federal-style rowhouses and is known for its narrow, gas-lit streets and brick sidewalks...

 mansion. Both candidates spent more than the cap, with each camp accusing the other of being first to break the agreement. There is no evidence that this led to Kerry's win in a very close race but it is more than possible that this contributed to his victory. During the campaign, Kerry spoke briefly at the 1996 Democratic National Convention
1996 Democratic National Convention
The 1996 Democratic National Convention of the was held at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois from August 26 to August 29, 1996. Incumbent Democrat Bill Clinton was renominated for President of United States.-Site selection:...

. Senator Kerry won re-election with 53 percent to Weld's 45 percent.

In the 2000 presidential election, Kerry found himself close to being chosen as the vice presidential running mate.

A release from the presidential campaign of presumptive Democratic nominee Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 listed Kerry on the short list to be selected as the vice-presidential nominee, along with North Carolina Senator John Edwards
John Edwards
Johnny Reid "John" Edwards is an American politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in...

, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh
Evan Bayh
Birch Evans "Evan" Bayh III is a lawyer, advisor and former Democratic politician who served as the junior U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1999 to 2011. He earlier served as the 46th Governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997. Bayh is a current Fox News contributor as of March 14, 2011.Bayh first held...

, Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt, New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen
Jeanne Shaheen
Jeanne Shaheen is an American politician, a member of the Democratic Party, and the Senior United States Senator from New Hampshire. The first woman in U.S. history to be elected as both a Governor and U.S. Senator, she was the first woman to be elected Governor of New Hampshire, serving from...

 and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman
Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut. A former member of the Democratic Party, he was the party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 election. Currently an independent, he remains closely affiliated with the party.Born in Stamford, Connecticut,...

. Gore eventually selected Lieberman as the nominee, but Kerry continued to campaign on behalf of the Gore-Lieberman campaign through Election Day
Election Day (politics)
Election Day refers to the day when general elections are held. In many countries, general elections are always held on a Sunday, to enable as many voters as possible to participate, while in other countries elections are always held on a weekday...

.

Overall


Most analyses place Kerry's voting record on the left within the Senate Democratic caucus. During the 2004 presidential election he was portrayed as a staunch liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 by conservative special interest groups and the Bush campaign, who often noted that in 2003 Kerry was rated the National Journal
National Journal
National Journal is a nonpartisan American weekly magazine that reports on the current political environment and emerging political and policy trends. National Journal was first published in 1969. Times Mirror owned the magazine from 1986 to 1997, when it was purchased by David G. Bradley...

s top Senate liberal. However, that rating was based only upon voting on legislation within that past year. In fact, in terms of career voting records, the National Journal found that Kerry is the 11th most liberal member of the Senate. Most analyses find that Kerry is at least slightly more liberal than the typical Democratic Senator. Kerry has stated that he opposes privatizing Social Security
Social Security (United States)
In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs...

, supports abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 rights for adult women and minors, supports same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

, opposes capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 except for terrorists, supports most gun control laws, and is generally a supporter of trade agreements. Kerry supported the North American Free Trade Agreement
North American Free Trade Agreement
The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada – United States Free Trade Agreement...

 and Most Favored Nation status for China, but opposed the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

In July 1997 Kerry joined his Senate colleagues in voting against ratification of the Kyoto Treaty on global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 without greenhouse gas emissions limits on nations deemed developing, including India and China. Since then, Kerry has attacked President Bush, charging him with opposition to international efforts to combat global warming.

On October 1, 2008, Kerry voted for S. Amdt. 5685 to H.R. 1424, also known as the "bailout bill."

Iraq


In 1991, during the debate before the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, Kerry initially opposed the immediate use of military force to expel Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

. The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 had imposed sanction
International sanctions
International sanctions are actions taken by countries against others for political reasons, either unilaterally or multilaterally.There are several types of sanctions....

s on Iraq, and Kerry argued that the sanctions then in place should be given more time to work.

On December 14, 2001, 3 months after the attacks of 9/11, Kerry said on Larry King Live
Larry King Live
Larry King Live is an American talk show hosted by Larry King on CNN from 1985 to 2010. It was CNN's most watched and longest-running program, with over one million viewers nightly....

 that "I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally. This doesn't end with Afghanistan by any imagination. And I think the president has made that clear. I think we have made that clear. Terrorism is a global menace. It's a scourge. And it is absolutely vital that we continue against, for instance, Saddam Hussein."

More recently, Kerry said on October 9, 2002; "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Bush relied on that resolution in ordering the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. Kerry also gave a January 23, 2003 speech to Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

 saying "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator; leading an oppressive regime he presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real." Kerry did, however, warn that the administration should exhaust its diplomatic avenues before launching war: "Mr. President, do not rush to war, take the time to build the coalition, because it's not winning the war that's hard, it's winning the peace that's hard."

After the invasion of Iraq, when no weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

 were found, Kerry strongly criticized Bush, contending that he had misled the country: "When the President of the United States looks at you and tells you something, there should be some trust."

Kerry had spoken before the war about the sorts of weapons many believed Saddam Hussein had. On the Senate floor on October 9, 2002, he said that "According to the CIA's report, all U.S. intelligence experts agree that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons. There is little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop nuclear weapons."

Leadership


During his Senate career, Kerry has sponsored or cosponsored dozens of bill
Act of Congress
An Act of Congress is a statute enacted by government with a legislature named "Congress," such as the United States Congress or the Congress of the Philippines....

s. Some of his notable bills have addressed small business
Small business
A small business is a business that is privately owned and operated, with a small number of employees and relatively low volume of sales. Small businesses are normally privately owned corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships...

 concerns, education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

, veteran
Veteran
A veteran is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field; " A veteran of ..."...

s' and Vietnam War POW/MIA issue
Vietnam War POW/MIA issue
The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue concerns the fate of United States servicemen who were reported as missing in action during the Vietnam War and associated theaters of operation in Southeast Asia...

s, marine resource protection and other topics. Of those bills with his sponsorship, as of December 2004, 11 have been signed into law.

Kerry chaired the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs from 1991 to 1993. The committee's report, which Kerry endorsed, stated there was "no compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia." In 1994 the Senate passed a resolution, sponsored by Kerry and fellow Vietnam veteran John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

, that called for an end to the existing trade embargo against Vietnam; it was intended to pave the way for normalization. In 1995, President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 normalized diplomatic relations with the country of Vietnam.
His long-time senior Senate staff includes Chief of Staff David "Mac" McKean and Legislative Director
George Abar.

Kerry was the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is the Democratic Hill committee for the United States Senate. It is the only organization solely dedicated to electing Democrats to the United States Senate. The DSCC's current chair is Sen. Patty Murray, who succeeded Sen. Robert Menendez following...

 from 1987 to 1989. He was reelected to the Senate in 1990, 1996 (after winning re-election against the then-Governor of Massachusetts Republican William Weld
William Weld
William Floyd Weld is a former governor of the US state of Massachusetts. He served as that state's 68th governor from 1991 to 1997. From 1981 to 1988, he was a federal prosecutor in the United States Justice Department...

), 2002, and 2008. In January 2009, Kerry replaced Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Committee assignments


As of 2009, Kerry serves on four Senate committees and nine subcommittees:
  • Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
    United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
    The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is a standing committee of the United States Senate in charge of all senate matters related to the following subjects:* Coast Guard* Coastal zone management* Communications...

    • Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
      United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
      The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security is one of the seven subcommittees within the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation-Members, 112th Congress:...

    • Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet (Chairman)
    • Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
    • Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
      United States Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
      The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard is one of the seven subcommittees within the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation-Members, 112th Congress:...

    • Subcommittee on Science and Space
    • Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
  • Committee on Finance
    United States Senate Committee on Finance
    The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance is a standing committee of the United States Senate. The Committee concerns itself with matters relating to taxation and other revenue measures generally, and those relating to the insular possessions; bonded debt of the United States; customs, collection...

    • Subcommittee on Health Care
      United States Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care
      The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care is one of the six subcommittees within the Senate Committee on Finance-Members, 112th Congress:The subcommittee is chaired by Democrat Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, and the Ranking Minority Member is Vacant....

    • Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
      United States Senate Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
      The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure is one of the six subcommittees within the Senate Committee on Finance-Members, 112th Congress:...

    • Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness
  • Committee on Foreign Relations
    United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
    The United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It is charged with leading foreign-policy legislation and debate in the Senate. The Foreign Relations Committee is generally responsible for overseeing and funding foreign aid programs as...

     (Chairman)
  • Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
    The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship is a standing committee of the United States Senate. It has jurisdiction over the Small Business Administration and is also charged with researching and investigating all problems of American small business enterprises.-History:The...

  • Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
  • Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
    United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
    The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, colloquially referred to as the Supercommittee, is a joint select committee of the United States Congress, created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 on August 2, 2011...


Caucus memberships

  • Congressional Bicameral High-Speed and Intercity Rail Caucus
  • Congressional Internet Caucus
  • Congressional Vietnam-Era Veterans Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • International Conservation Caucus
    United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
    The U.S. Congressional International Conservation Caucus is a bipartisan congressional organization that was founded in September 2003 with the conviction that “the United States of America has the opportunity, the obligation and the interests to advance the conservation of natural resources for...

  • Senate Prosecutors Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Senate Oceans Caucus
    Senate Oceans Caucus
    The Senate Oceans Caucus is a bipartisan caucus working to increase awareness and find common ground in responding to issues facing the oceans and coasts...


Seniority



As of 2011, Kerry ranked as the 10th most senior US Senator. Due to the longevity
Longevity
The word "longevity" is sometimes used as a synonym for "life expectancy" in demography or known as "long life", especially when it concerns someone or something lasting longer than expected ....

 of Ted Kennedy's service, Kerry was the most senior junior Senator. On Tuesday, August 25, 2009, Kerry became the senior senator from Massachusetts following Ted Kennedy's death.

2004 presidential campaign




In the 2004 Democratic Presidential primaries
United States presidential primary
The series of presidential primary elections and caucuses is one of the first steps in the process of electing the President of the United States of America. The primary elections are run by state and local governments, while caucuses are private events run by the political parties...

, John Kerry defeated several Democratic rivals, including Sen. John Edwards
John Edwards
Johnny Reid "John" Edwards is an American politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in...

 (D-North Carolina.), former Vermont Governor Howard Dean
Howard Dean
Howard Brush Dean III is an American politician and physician from Vermont. He served six terms as the 79th Governor of Vermont and ran unsuccessfully for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. He was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. Although his U.S...

 and retired Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 General Wesley Clark
Wesley Clark
Wesley Kanne Clark, Sr., is a retired general of the United States Army. Graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1966 at West Point, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford where he obtained a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and later graduated from the...

. His victory in the Iowa caucuses is widely believed to be the tipping point where Kerry revived his sagging campaign in New Hampshire and the February 3, 2004, primary states like Arizona, South Carolina and New Mexico. Kerry then went on to win landslide victories in Nevada and Wisconsin. Kerry thus won the Democratic nomination to run for President of the United States against incumbent George W. Bush. On July 6, 2004, he announced his selection of John Edwards as his running mate. Democratic strategist Bob Shrum
Bob Shrum
Robert M. "Bob" Shrum is an American political consultant, who has worked on numerous Democratic campaigns.-Education:Shrum was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania and raised in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Loyola High School of Los Angeles and Georgetown University...

, who was Kerry's 2004 campaign adviser, wrote an article in Time magazine claiming that after the election, Kerry had said that he wished he'd never picked Edwards, and that the two have since stopped speaking to each other. In a subsequent appearance on ABC's This Week, Kerry refused to respond to Shrum's allegation, calling it a "ridiculous waste of time."

On November 3, 2004, Kerry conceded the race. Kerry won 59.03 million votes, or 48.3 percent of the popular vote; Bush won 62.04 million votes, or 50.7 percent of the popular vote. Kerry carried states with a total of 252 electoral votes
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

. One Kerry elector voted for Kerry's running mate, Edwards, so in the final tally Kerry had 251 electoral votes to Bush's 286. Although, as in the previous election
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

, there were disputes about the voting, no state was as close as Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 had been in 2000 (see 2004 United States presidential election controversy and irregularities).

2008 presidential election


Immediately after the 2004 election, some Democrats mentioned Kerry as a possible contender for the 2008 Democratic nomination. His brother had said such a campaign was "conceivable", and Kerry himself reportedly said at a farewell party for his 2004 campaign staff, "There's always another four years."

Kerry established a separate political action committee
Political action committee
In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a...

, Keeping America's Promise, that raised money and channeled contributions to Democratic candidates in state and federal races. Through Keeping America's Promise in 2005, Kerry raised over $5.5 million for other Democrats up and down the ballot. Through his campaign account and his political action committee, the Kerry campaign operation generated more than $10 million for various party committees and 179 candidates for the US House, Senate, state and local offices in 42 states focusing on the midterm elections during the 2006 election cycle. "Cumulatively, John Kerry has done as much if not more than any other individual senator", Hassan Nemazee, the national finance chairman of the DSCC
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is the Democratic Hill committee for the United States Senate. It is the only organization solely dedicated to electing Democrats to the United States Senate. The DSCC's current chair is Sen. Patty Murray, who succeeded Sen. Robert Menendez following...

 said.


On January 10, 2008, Kerry endorsed Illinois Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 for President. He was mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential candidate for Senator Obama, although fellow Senator Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

 was eventually chosen. After Biden's acceptance of the vice presidential nomination, speculation arose that John Kerry would be a candidate for Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State
The United States Secretary of State is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence...

 in the Obama administration. However, Senator Hillary Clinton was offered the position. Kerry has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Clinton should she decide to retire in 2012.

Controversial comments


On October 30, 2006, Kerry was a headline speaker at a campaign rally being held for Democratic California gubernatorial candidate
California gubernatorial election, 2006
The 2006 California gubernatorial election occurred on November 7, 2006. The primary elections took place on June 6, 2006. The incumbent Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, won re election for his first full term. His main opponent was California State Treasurer Phil Angelides, the...

 Phil Angelides
Phil Angelides
Philip Nicholas "Phil" Angelides is an American politician who was California State Treasurer and the unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Governor of California in the 2006 elections...

 at Pasadena City College
Pasadena City College
Pasadena City College is a community college in Pasadena, California, USA, located on Colorado Boulevard. PCC is the third largest community college campus in the United States. PCC was founded in 1924 as Pasadena Junior College. In 1954, Pasadena Junior College merged with another junior...

 in Pasadena, California
Pasadena, California
Pasadena is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena is the home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology , the Jet...

. Speaking to an audience composed mainly of college students, Kerry said, "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

The day after the remarks were made public, leaders from both sides of the political spectrum, including Republicans President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 and then-Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert
Dennis Hastert
John Dennis "Denny" Hastert was the 59th Speaker of the House serving from 1999 to 2007. He represented as a Republican for twenty years, 1987 to 2007.He is the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history...

, said that Kerry's comments were insulting to American military forces fighting in Iraq. Democratic Representative Harold Ford, Jr.
Harold Ford, Jr.
Harold Eugene Ford, Jr. is an American politician and was the last chairman of the now-defunct Democratic Leadership Council . He was a Democratic Party member of the United States House of Representatives from , centered in Memphis, from 1997 to 2007...

 called on Kerry to apologize and Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 Senate candidate Bob Casey, Jr.
Bob Casey, Jr.
Robert Patrick "Bob" Casey, Jr. is the senior U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served as Pennsylvania Treasurer, and Pennsylvania Auditor General. He is the son of former Governor Bob Casey, Sr..He is the first Democrat elected to a full term in...

 canceled an appearance with Kerry.

Kerry initially stated: "Let me make it crystal clear, as crystal clear as I know how. I apologize to no one for my criticism of the president and of his broken policy." Kerry also responded to criticism from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

.

Kerry said that he had intended the remark as a jab at President Bush, and described the remarks as a "botched joke", having inadvertently left out the key word "us" (which would have been, "If you don't, you get us stuck in Iraq"), as well as leaving the phrase "just ask President Bush" off of the end of the sentence. In Kerry's prepared remarks, which he released during the ensuing media frenzy, the corresponding line was "... you end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush." He also claimed that from the context of the speech which, prior to the "stuck in Iraq" line, made several specific references to Bush and elements of his biography, that Kerry was referring to President Bush and not American troops in general.

After two days of media coverage, citing a desire not to be a diversion, Kerry apologized to those who took offense at what he called the misinterpretation of his comment.

Climate change


Kerry said in Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

 an administration run by the Democrats would mean the difference between night and day on policies to fight global warming and the Democrats would, unlike Bush, back mandatory emissions targets and pass a bill to create a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions.

GI Bill support


Kerry has teamed up with Congressman Peter T. King
Peter T. King
Peter T. "Pete" King is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1993. He is a member of the Republican Party. King's central Long Island district includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties....

 to help sponsor a new GI Bill to help give incentives for military personnel.

Ted Kennedy funeral


Kerry served as an honorary pallbearer
Pallbearer
A pall-bearer is one of several funeral participants who helps carry the casket of a deceased person from a religious or memorial service or viewing either directly to a cemetery or mausoleum, or to and from the hearse which carries the coffin....

 for the late former Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

.

Yacht moored in Rhode Island


According to the Boston Herald
Boston Herald
The Boston Herald is a daily newspaper that serves Boston, Massachusetts, United States, and its surrounding area. It was started in 1846 and is one of the oldest daily newspapers in the United States...

, dated July 23, 2010, Kerry commissioned construction on a new $7 million dollar yacht (A Friendship 75) in New Zealand and moored it in Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Portsmouth is a town in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 17,389 at the 2010 U.S. Census.-Geography:According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it is water. Most of its land area lies on Aquidneck...

 where the Friendship yacht company is based. The article claimed this allowed him to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on the property including approximately $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000.
However, on July 27, 2010, Kerry stated he had yet to take legal possession of the boat, had not intended to avoid the taxes, and that when he took possession, he would pay the taxes whether he owed them or not.

Libya


During the 2011 Libyan uprising, "Kerry was one of the earliest lawmakers calling for the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone
No-fly zone
A no-fly zone is a territory or an area over which aircraft are not permitted to fly. Such zones are usually set up in a military context, somewhat like a demilitarized zone in the sky, and usually prohibit military aircraft of a belligerent nation from operating in the region.-Iraq,...

 in Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

."

Afghanistan/Pakistan


Kerry "has emerged in the past few years as an important envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan during times of crisis," a Washington Post report stated in May, 2011, as Kerry undertook another trip to the two countries. The killing of Osama bin Laden "has generated perhaps the most important crossroads yet," the report continued, as the senator spoke at a press conference and prepared to fly from Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 to Pakistan. Among matters discussed during the May visit to Pakistan, under the general rubric of "recalibrating" the bilateral relationship, Kerry sought and retrieved from the Pakistanis the tail-section of the U.S. helicopter which had had to be abandoned at Abbottabad
Abbottabad
Abbottabad is a city located in the Hazara region of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in Pakistan. The city is situated in the Orash Valley, northeast of the capital Islamabad and east of Peshawar at an altitude of and is the capital of the Abbottabad District...

 during the bin Laden strike.

See also

  • Daily Kos
    Daily Kos
    Daily Kos is an American political blog that publishes news and opinions from a progressive point of view. It functions as a discussion forum and group blog for a variety of netroots activists, whose efforts are primarily directed toward influencing and strengthening the Democratic Party...

    , Kerry is an occasional contributor to this political community blog
  • University of Florida Taser incident
    University of Florida Taser incident
    On September 17, 2007, U.S. Senator John Kerry addressed a Constitution Day forum at the University of Florida in Gainesville, which was organized by the ACCENT Speakers Bureau, an agency of the university's student government...


Further reading

  • Brinkley, Douglas, Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War, William Morrow & Company, 2004. ISBN 0-06-056523-3
  • Kerry, John and Vietnam Veterans Against the War, The New Soldier, MacMillan Publishing Company, 1971. ISBN 0-02-073610-X
  • Kerry, John, The New War: The Web of Crime That Threatens America's Security, Simon & Schuster, 1997. ISBN 0-684-81815-9
  • Kerry, John, A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America, Viking Press, 2003. ISBN 0-670-03260-3
  • Kerry, John and Teresa Heinz Kerry, This Moment on Earth: Today's New Environmentalists and Their Vision for the Future, PublicAffairs, 2007. ISBN 978-1-586-48431-6
  • Kranish, Michael, Brian C. Mooney, and Nina J. Easton. John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography by The Boston Globe Reporters Who Know Him Best, PublicAffairs, 2004. ISBN 1-58648-273-4
  • McMahon, Kevin, David Rankin, Donald W. Beachler and John Kenneth White. Winning the White House, 2004, Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. ISBN 1-4039-6881-0
  • O'Neill, John E. & Corsi, Jerome R. Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, Regnery Publishing
    Regnery Publishing
    Regnery Publishing in Washington, D.C., is a publisher which specializes in conservative books characterized on their website as "contrary to those of 'mainstream' publishers in New York." Since 1993, Regnery Publishing has been a division of Eagle Publishing, which also owns the weekly magazine...

    , 2004. ISBN 0-89526-017-4

External links


Official


Information



Statements and interviews


Media coverage



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