John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry, 60, has been a U.S. senator from Massachusetts for nearly two decades. After returning from the Vietnam War, during which he served as a Swift Boat officer, Kerry founded an anti-war group composed of fellow veterans. Kerry served as First Assistant District Attorney of Middlesex County before being elected lieutenant governor of Massachusetts in 1982. In 1984, he entered the U.S. Senate, where he has served as a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry and is father to two daughters and three stepsons.

According to Marvin Nicholson, Kerry's personal assistant, the senator is a workout enthusiast who loves to bicycle and kite-surf. On the campaign trail, their days typically begin at 7 a.m.

"I'm 31, he's 60, and we keep the same schedule," Nicholson said. "Some days I just drag myself to his room in the morning, but when I get there, he's already been up for an hour and has read all the newspapers."

Kerry campaign Web site:

Issues, Strategies and Key Quotes

Top three issues:
Foreign policy: Kerry served 18 years on the Senate Foreign Comittee and is a decorated combat veteran with the promise of experience. He advocates a "progressive internationalism," involving diplomatic alliances that enhance collective security, and an end to the Bush administration's “erratic unilateralism.” He says that "winning the peace" in Iraq is of profound importance to the fight against terrorism.
Economic recovery: Kerry vows to bring back the 3 million jobs lost under George W. Bush. According to his Web site, Kerry proposes creating jobs through a new manufacturing jobs credit, as well as by investing in new energy industries, restoring technology, and stopping layoffs in education. His tax cut plan makes middle class families a priority.
Education: Kerry proposes a new "Education Trust Fund" that means fully funding education, no questions asked, according to his Web site. He pledges to improve our public education system by supporting teachers, reducing class sizes and rebuilding crumbling schools.

Official strategy statement: "Right now we are focused on informing the public about who John Kerry is," Laura Capps, Kerry's Iowa press secretary, said earlier this fall.

Campaign's assessment of its own strength: "When it comes to experience and vision, he's the best candidate. ... Sen. Kerry offers the most foreign policy experience of any candidate." -- Laura Capps

Quotes from Kerry: "What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States."

"I'm going to remind this president that the flag of the United States of America does not belong to any political party -- it belongs to all Americans."

"I will fight to make health care a right, not a privilege."

"With George Bush in the White House, we have seen a 'get mine and get out' ethic that in effect glorifies a creed of greed."

Potential Vulnerabilities

Critiques from others: "Kerry isn't pretending to be the guy who makes your heart race. He's saying, go ahead and have your fling, but when it's time to marry, you know who to count on." -- William Saletan of The Slate, November 17, 2003

"John Kerry tried to make his campaign about courage, but his was called into question by his conflicting -- and conflicted -- stances on Iraq." -- Karen Tumulty of TIME, November 16, 2003

"To put it mildly, Kerry has a warmth problem. He recites his positions but doesn't tell any folksy stories, doesn't connect, doesn't seem to be speaking from the heart." -- Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post

Our own assessment of Kerry's vulnerability: In the fall, Kerry suffered the loss of three campaign officials, national campaign manager Jim Jordan, press secretery Robert Gibbs and deputy finance director Carl Chidlow. The changes came after long-time speculation of dissension in the Kerry ranks. Kerry's main vulnerablitiy currently is the appearance of a broken campaign and diminishing support from his own people.

Iowa Campaign Information
Main Iowa campaign office:

1500 Locust Street
West Des Moines, Iowa
(515) 288- 9315

Iowa Campaign Manager
John Norris
(515) 288-9305
[email protected]
Iowa press secretary:

Laura Capps
(515) 288-5504
[email protected]

Eastern Iowa Contact:
Marygrace Galston
210 S. Clinton St.
Iowa City, IA
(319) 351-1021
Number of Iowa Offices:


Number of Paid Iowa Staffers:
National Campaign Information
National campaign manager:

Mary Beth Cahill
[email protected]
519 C Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-548-6801 (fax)

National press secretary:

Stephanie Cutter
[email protected]
519 C Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-548-6801 (fax)

National media consultants:
Bob Shrum and Jim Margolis
National pollster:
Campaign fundraisingto date:
According to
Copyright © 2003 by Iowa Presidential This site produced by the "Presidential Politics" class in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa.