August 1, 2004

Teresa Heinz Kerry: "It was pretty surreal."

"This Week with George Stephanopoulos" had a clip of Stephanopoulos interviewing Teresa Heinz Kerry the day after John Kerry's convention speech:
How did you feel about last night?

It was pretty surreal.


Well, you know, you're standing ... until the balloons started dropping, and the kids started playing balloons, and I said, okay, it's playtime now. But until then, it's kind of like happening to somebody else.

What's surreal is that the wife of the candidate would answer that question that way. Stephanopoulos was giving her an opportunity to help her husband's cause by saying something like "He did a fantastic job." Instead of talking at all about how he did, she interpreted the question literally, as if everyone just wants to know about her inner emotional life. And even then, one might have thought that she would have expressed her feelings in terms of her pride in her husband or her nervousness for him or her love and support, but instead, she came out with the hippie's "It was pretty surreal" and nothing more. Prodded to explain, she rambled on about balloons. Not a word about her husband. I give her credit for honesty: she does not try to figure out what is required of her and substitute appropriate answers. But I get the sense that she can scarcely bring herself to care about all the events swirling about her.

Here's a second interchange with Stephanopoulos:
Coming into this convention over half the country said they didn't know that much about John Kerry. What do you think is the big thing they learned this week?

Well, you know, I was saying a little earlier that John finally got a forum where he could be at his best, which is thoughtful, allow passion to come in, allow his ideas to come forth. You know, how often in life do you get that kind of attention and space and time? So it was a very good moment for him.

There, Heinz Kerry doesn't interpret the question literally, or isn't able to think of a "big thing" that people learned about Kerry. Her answer, delivered somnambulently, consists of little more than an acknowledgement that Kerry did have a chance to give a big speech. He "got a forum" where he "could" do a few things, where he had everyone's attention. Well, did he do anything worth noting?

She seems crushed by the boredom of it all.

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