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Heinz Kerry: No regrets for 'shove it' remark

'I speak from my heart, from my head and from my soul'

Teresa Heinz Kerry says she does not regret telling a newspaper writer to "shove it."
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Teresa Heinz
John F. Kerry
America Votes 2004

BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Teresa Heinz Kerry said she does not regret telling an editorial writer from a conservative Pennsylvania newspaper to "shove it" and maintained that the writer "was trying to trap me."

"I respect reporters and I respect anyone who does their job well," Heinz Kerry said in a taped interview with CNN's Bill Hemmer Monday night that aired Tuesday.

"I don't, like anybody else, want to be trapped or be misrepresented intentionally by someone. That's what happened and I defended myself," she said. (Special Report: America Votes 2004, the Democratic convention)

The wife of John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, speaks at the Democratic convention Tuesday night in Boston.

The confrontation with Colin McNickle, editorial page editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, took place Sunday night after she addressed delegates from her home state of Pennsylvania.

Heinz Kerry's remark came after she told the delegates that "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, McNickle asked her what she had meant by her use of the word "un-American."

She argued with him, insisting she hadn't said "un-American."

He said he thought she had used the term "un-American activity."

"I did not say activity or un-American," she responded.

She then turned to someone nearby and said, "You know what the question is? Say that I called this an 'un-American activity.' I did not."

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

"Understandable. You said something I didn't say, now shove it," she told him. (Kerry's wife to journalist: 'Shove it')

The paper is owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, who has donated millions to right-wing causes.

Her remarks about civility in politics and the ensuing confrontation were videotaped by a Pittsburgh TV station.

In the interview with CNN, Hemmer said "the quote I have is that you said un-American."

Heinz Kerry then said, "No, un-Pennsylvanian."

Hemmer then read her the quote from her address to Pennsylvania delegates and she acknowledged saying it.

"That's absolutely correct. I would say that again."

But she said the reporter was using the term "un-American activities, which has a very different connotation."

"It's a political connotation of McCarthy implications, which I would not use unless it was very specific. I would use it if it was correct. But that's not what I was talking about."

When asked why she didn't walk away, Heinz Kerry said "this person was trying to trap me and I was not going to let him."

There were no apologies for Heinz Kerry's comment from Kerry or the Democrats, who have long accused the paper of bias.

Heinz Kerry previously had been married to late U.S. Sen. John Heinz, the Pennsylvania Republican who died in a plane crash 13 years ago.

As for her convention address Tuesday night, Heinz Kerry said it will include the themes she has always dealt with but "just a little bit more."

She only provided hints about its content.

She said it has been "ready for quite a while" but there have been some revisions -- "weeks with tweaks."

For example, she said, "I added some stuff about my mom today."

She has fashioned the address to be inspirational and hopeful, a reflection on the United States, her husband and herself.

She said, "It's personal. It's my words. I feel very comfortable with it. I normally don't have text when I speak. I speak from my heart, from my head and from my soul. That's where this came from. But it is written."

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