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Candidate's wife stirs campaign controversy

By the Wolf Blitzer Reports staff

He said, she said: Teresa Heinz Kerry confronts Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editor Colin McNickle.
Teresa Heinz
John F. Kerry

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- For all the careful choreography of the campaign and the convention, there's a lot of buzz about an unscripted moment involving John Kerry's wife.

This is what Teresa Heinz Kerry said Sunday to delegates from her home state of Pennsylvania:

"We need to turn back some of the creeping un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics."

Afterward, a journalist questioned what she meant but the two disagreed on exactly what she said.

The exchange between the two follows:

Reporter: Un-American activity ... You mentioned un-American ...

Heinz Kerry: No, I didn't say that.

Reporter: What'd you mean?

Heinz Kerry: I didn't say that.

Reporter: What'd you say?

Heinz Kerry: I didn't say that.

Reporter: I'm just asking what you said.

Heinz Kerry: Well why did you ... Why did you put those words in my mouth?

Reporter: You said something about un-American ...

Heinz Kerry: No, I didn't say that.

She denied having said "activities," but she also denied having said "un-American."

But it's what she said next that raised some eyebrows.

Heinz Kerry: Are you from the tribune review?"

Reporter: Yes I am.

Heinz Kerry: Of course.

Reporter: Come here ... You said ...

Heinz Kerry: Understandable. You said something I didn't say, now shove it.

There was no apology from the campaign -- but 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."

The paper in question, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, is owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, who has donated millions to conservative causes.

In a statement the paper defended its employee saying:

"Colin McNickle did just what any good reporter does -- he asked questions. And the question he posed in this instance was legitimate. The tape of Teresa Heinz Kerry's speech shows she used the word 'un-American,' even though she denied it. It is unfortunate that she ruined what was an otherwise good message by resorting to exactly the type of tactics she was criticizing."

When questioned about the incident, John Kerry responded, "I think my wife speaks her mind appropriately."

This is not the first controversial comment of the campaign season. There was Vice President Cheney's use of a four-letter word in the Senate. And Jenna Bush had tongues wagging when she showed hers to the media.

As for Teresa Heinz Kerry, her "shove it" earned her at least one fan.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York says, "A lot of Americans will say 'Good for you! You go girl!' And certainly that's how I feel about it."

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