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Kerry's wife to journalist: 'Shove it'

Candidate's spouse says paper misquoted her


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Teresa Heinz Kerry exchanges words with Colin McNickle, editorial page editor for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
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BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, the wife of Sen. John Kerry told a journalist to "Shove it."

Teresa Heinz Kerry accused the editorial page editor for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review of misquoting her -- though she had in fact used a word that she denied using.

The Kerry campaign and other Democrats have said the paper is biased against the Kerry campaign and the Democratic Party.

It is owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, who has donated millions to conservative causes.

Kerry told reporters Monday that his wife "speaks her mind appropriately."

Senior Kerry adviser Tad Devine said Monday that Heinz Kerry "tells it like it is."

"She is such an enormous asset to our campaign," he said.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said only, "She is obviously a spirited campaigner."

Heinz Kerry's comment came Sunday after she told a group of voters, "We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics."

As she was leaving, Colin McNickle, the Tribune-Review's editorial page editor, asked her what she had meant by, in his words, "un-American activity."

According to an exchange posted on the paper's Web site, she denied having said "activity" and also denied saying "un-American."

After stepping away and speaking briefly with Democratic organizers of the event, she returned and asked the reporter whether he worked for the Tribune-Review. He said he did.

"Understandable. You said something I didn't say, now shove it," she told him.

McNickle said Monday that he was "taken aback" by Heinz Kerry's comment.

"The purpose of my question was to get a little clarification on what she meant, to try to elicit an example," he told CNN from the floor of the Democratic convention.

When asked if there should be some kind of apology in the incident, McNickle said, "She's a public figure. I asked a question; she has the right to respond in any way she so desires."

The paper released a statement saying the journalist had done "what any good reporter does -- he asked questions. And the question he posed in this instance was legitimate."

The statement accused Heinz Kerry of "resorting to exactly the type of tactics she was criticizing."

After the incident Sunday, a spokesperson for Heinz Kerry told CNN affiliate WTAE, "This was sheer frustration, aimed at a right-wing rag that has consistently and purposely misrepresented the facts in reporting on Mrs. Kerry and her family."

Asked about the comment Monday, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said she believes that "a lot of Americans will say, 'Good for you -- you go, girl.' And certainly that's how I feel about it."

Devine said Heinz Kerry has been a great campaigner for her husband. "She's someone who connects with voters, who cares deeply about issues. And the fact that she speaks what's on her mind, I think it's enormously refreshing. It's something the American people want to hear more of."

Heinz Kerry will deliver an address at the convention Tuesday night, he said.

"I'm sure the nation wants to hear from her because she can lend so much valuable insight as to who John Kerry is, where he comes from and what he believes," Devine said.


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