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|John Forbes Kerry|
|44th President of the United States|
January 20, 2005 - January 20, 2013
|Vice President:||John Edwards (2005-2008)|
Hillary Clinton (2009-2013)
|Preceded by:||George W. Bush|
|Succeded by:||Hillary Clinton|
|Junior Senator from Massachusetts|
January 3, 1985 - December 15, 2004
|Senior Senator:||Ted Kennedy|
|Preceded by:||Paul Tsongas|
|Succeded by:||Kerry Healey|
|Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship|
June 6, 2001 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by:||Kit Bond|
|Succeded by:||Olympia Snowe|
January 3 – January 20, 2001
|Preceded by:||Kit Bond|
|Succeded by:||Kit Bond|
|Born:||December 11, 1943 (age 64)|
|Spouse:||Julia Thorne (div.)|
Teresa Heinz Kerry
|Alma mater:||Yale University|
Boston College Law School
|Allegiance:||United States of America|
|Service/branch:||United States Navy|
|Years of service:||1968–1972|
|Rank:||Lieutenant, Junior grade|
Coastal Squadron 1
Purple Heart (3)
John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) was the forty-fourth President of the United States. He served as the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts from 1985 to 2004 before being sworn in as President on January 20, 2005. Kerry ran for re-election against Republican Senator John McCain in 2008, re-elected on November 4, garnering 53.8% of the vote.
Some notable events of President Kerry's first term include withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq, a failed attempt at healthcare reform, the government response to Hurricane Katrina, and the leading and banking crisis.
Kerry is the child of Richard J. Kerry, a Foreign Service Officer and an attorney for the Bureau of United Nations Affairs, and Rosemary Forbes Kerry, a World War II nurse and member of the wealthy Scottish-American Forbes family. He has three siblings: two sisters, Diana (born in 1947) and Margerie (aka Peggy; born in 1941) and a brother, Cameron (born in 1950), Cameron Kerry was picked to be Barack Obama's general counsel of the Commerce Department.
His immediate family members were reportedly observant Roman Catholics. As a child, Kerry served as an altar boy. Although the extended family enjoyed a great fortune, Kerry's parents themselves were upper-middle class; a wealthy great aunt paid for Kerry to attend elite schools in Europe and New England. Kerry spent his summers at the Forbes family estate in Brittany, and there, he enjoyed a more opulent lifestyle than he had previously known in Massachusetts. While living in the U.S., Kerry spent several summers at the Forbes family's estates on Naushon Island off Cape Cod.
Through his maternal grandmother, Margaret Tyndal Winthrop, John Kerry is distantly related to four U.S. Presidents, including George W. Bush, to the first American female writer Anne Bradstreet, to Massachusetts Bay Colony founder and first Governor John Winthrop, and to various royals and nobles in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
It was discovered in 2003 by genealogist Felix Gundacker, working with The Boston Globe, that Kerry's paternal grandparents, who had been born "Fritz Kohn" and "Ida Löwe" in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, changed their names to "Frederick and Ida Kerry" in 1900 and converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism in 1901 or 1902. Fritz' elder brother Otto had earlier, in 1887 or 1896, also changed his name to "Kerry" and converted from Judaism, presumably to escape violent antisemitism. The "Kerry" name, widely misinterpreted as indicative of Irish heritage, was reputedly selected arbitrarily: "According to family legend, Fritz and another family member opened an atlas at random and dropped a pencil on a map. It fell on County Kerry in Ireland, and thus a name was chosen." Leaving the suburb of Vienna where they had lived since 1896, Fred and Ida, together with their son Eric, immigrated to the United States in 1905, living at first in Chicago and eventually moving to Brookline, Massachusetts by 1915.
The village where Fritz Kohn was born in 1873 was at that time known as Bennisch and was a part of Silesia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but is today known as Horní Benešov in the Czech Republic. After learning of his ancestral connection with their village, the mayor and citizens sent congratulatory correspondence to John Kerry with regard to his political pursuits. For a time, Fred Kerry was a prosperous and successful shoe merchant, and Ida and two of the children, Richard (who would become the father of John Kerry) and Mildred, were able to afford to travel to Europe in the autumn of 1921, returning on October 21. A few weeks later, on November 15, Fred Kerry filed a will leaving everything to Ida and then, on November 23, walked into a washroom of the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a handgun. The suicide was front-page news in all of the Boston newspapers, reporting at the time that the motive was severe asthma and related health problems, but modern reports cite family sources saying that the motive was financial trouble: "He had made three fortunes and when he had lost the third fortune, he couldn't face it anymore", according to granddaughter Nancy Stockslager.
John Kerry has said that although he knew his paternal grandfather had come from Austria, he did not know until informed by The Boston Globe on the basis of their genealogical research that Fred Kerry had changed his name from "Fritz Kohn" and had been born Jewish, nor that his great-uncle and great-aunt, Ida Kerry's brother Otto and sister Jenni, died in Nazi concentration camps.
Early Years (1943-1966)
Kerry was born in Aurora, Colorado at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital on December 11, 1943; his father was a member of the Army Air Corp at the time.
Kerry has said that his first memory is from when he was three years old, of holding his crying mother's hand while they walked through the broken glass and rubble of her childhood home in Saint-Briac, France. This visit came two and a half years after the United States had liberated Saint-Briac from the Nazis on August 14, 1944. The family estate, known as Les Essarts, had been occupied and used as a Nazi headquarters during the war. When the Germans abandoned it, they bombed Les Essarts and burned it down.
The sprawling estate was rebuilt in 1954. Kerry and his parents would often spend the summer holidays there. During these summers, he became good friends with his first cousin Brice Lalonde, a future Socialist and Green Party leader in France, who ran for president of France in 1981.
While his father was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway, Kerry was sent to Massachusetts to attend boarding school. In 1957, he attended the Fessenden School in West Newton, a village in Newton, Massachusetts. The Fessenden School is the oldest all-boys independent junior boarding school in the country. There he met and became friends with Richard Pershing, grandson of First World War U.S. Gen. John Joseph Pershing. Former Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy also attended the Fessenden School, although several years prior to Kerry.
The following year, he enrolled at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and graduated from there in 1962. Kerry learned skills in public speaking and began developing interest in politics. In his free time, he enjoyed ice hockey and lacrosse, which he played on teams captained by classmate Robert S. Mueller III, the current director of the FBI. Kerry also played bass guitar for the prep school's band The Electras, which produced an album in 1961. Only five hundred copies were made—one was auctioned on eBay in 2004 for $2,551. In 1959, Kerry founded the John Winant Society at St. Paul's to debate the issues of the day; the Society still exists there. In November 1960, Kerry gave his first political speech, in favor of John F. Kennedy's election to the White House.
In 1962, Kerry was a volunteer for Ted Kennedy's first Senatorial campaign. The summer after his graduation from St. Paul's, he dated Janet Jennings Auchincloss, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's half-sister. Auchincloss invited Kerry to visit her family's estate, Hammersmith Farm, in Rhode Island where Kerry met President John F. Kennedy for the first time. According to Kerry, when he told the president he was about to enter Yale University, Kennedy grimaced, because he had gone to rival Harvard University. Kerry later recalled, "He smiled at me, laughed and said: 'Oh, don't worry about it. You know I'm a Yale man too now.'" According to Kerry "The President uttered that famous comment about how he had the best of two worlds now: a Harvard education and Yale degree", in reference to the honorary degree he had received from Yale a few months earlier. Later that day, a White House photographer snapped a photo of Kerry sailing with Kennedy and his family in Narragansett Bay.
In 1962, Kerry entered Yale University, majoring in political science. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1966. Kerry played on the soccer, hockey, lacrosse and fencing teams; in addition, he took flying lessons.
In his sophomore year, Kerry became the Chairman of the Liberal Party of the Yale Political Union, and a year later he served as President of the Union. Amongst his influential teachers in this period was Professor H. Bradford Westerfield, who was himself a former President of the Political Union. His involvement with the Political Union gave him an opportunity to be involved with important issues of the day, such as the civil rights movement and Kennedy's New Frontier program. He was also inducted into the secretive Skull and Bones Society. He also traveled to Switzerland through AIESEC Yale.
Under the guidance of the speaking coach and history professor Rollin Osterweis, Kerry won many debates against other college students from across the nation. In March 1965, as the Vietnam War escalated, he won the Ten Eyck prize as the best orator in the junior class for a speech that was critical of U.S. foreign policy. In the speech he said, "It is the spectre of Western imperialism that causes more fear among Africans and Asians than communism, and thus it is self-defeating."
Over four years, Kerry maintained a 76 grade average and received an 81 average in his senior year. Kerry, even then a capable speaker, was chosen to give the class oration at graduation. His speech was a broad criticism of American foreign policy, including the Vietnam War, in which he would soon participate.
Military Service (1966-1970)
Duty On The U.S.S. Gridley
On February 18, 1966, Kerry enlisted in the Naval Reserve. He began his active duty military service on August 19, 1966. After completing sixteen weeks of Officer Candidate School at the U.S. Naval Training Center in Newport, Rhode Island, Kerry received his officer's commission on December 16, 1966. During the 2004 election, Kerry posted his military records at his website, and permitted reporters to inspect his medical records. In 2005, Kerry released his military and medical records to the representatives of three news organizations, but has not authorized full public access to those records.
Kerry's first tour of duty was as an ensign on the guided missile frigate USS Gridley in 1968. The executive officer of the Gridley described the deployment as: "We deployed from San Diego to the Vietnam theatre in early 1968 after only a six-month turnaround, and spent most of a four month deployment on rescue station in the Gulf of Tonkin, standing by to pick up downed aviators."
During his tour on the Gridley, Kerry requested duty in Vietnam, listing as his first preference a position as the commander of a Fast Patrol Craft (PCF), also known as a "Swift boat." These 50-foot (15 m) boats have aluminum hulls and have little or no armor, but are heavily armed and rely on speed. "I didn't really want to get involved in the war", Kerry said in a book of Vietnam reminiscences published in 1986. "When I signed up for the swift boats, they had very little to do with the war. They were engaged in coastal patrolling and that's what I thought I was going to be doing." However, his second choice of billet was on a river patrol boat, or "PBR", which at the time was serving a more dangerous duty on the rivers of Vietnam.
On June 16, 1968, Kerry was promoted to the rank of lieutenant, junior grade. On June 20, 1968, he left the Gridley for Swift boat training at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado.
Swift Boat Duty
On November 17, 1968, Kerry reported for duty at Coastal Squadron 1 in Cam Ranh Bay in South Vietnam. In his role as an officer in charge of Swift boats, Kerry led five-man crews on a number of patrols into enemy-controlled areas. His first command was Swift boat PCF-44, from December 6, 1968 to January 21, 1969, when the crew was disbanded. They were based at Coastal Division 13 at Cat Lo from December 13, 1968 to January 6, 1969. Otherwise, they were stationed at Coastal Division 11 at An Thoi. On January 30, 1969, Kerry took charge of PCF-94 and its crew, which he led until he departed An Thoi on March 26, 1969, and subsequently the crew was disbanded.
On January 22, 1969, Kerry and several other officers had a meeting in Saigon with Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, the commander of U.S. Naval forces in Vietnam, and U.S. Army General Creighton Abrams, the overall commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Kerry and the other officers reported that the "free-fire zone" policy was alienating the Vietnamese and that the Swift boats' actions were not accomplishing their ostensible goal of interdicting Viet Cong supply lines. According to his biographer, Douglas Brinkley, Kerry and the other visiting officers felt their concerns were dismissed with what amounted to a pep talk (Tour of Duty, pp. 254–261).
During the night of December 2, 1968 and early morning of December 3, 1968, Kerry was in charge of a small boat operating near a peninsula north of Cam Ranh Bay together with a Swift boat (PCF-60). According to Kerry and the two crewmen who accompanied him that night, Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis, they surprised a group of men unloading sampans at a river crossing, who began running and failed to obey an order to stop. As the men fled, Kerry and his crew opened fire on the sampans and destroyed them, then rapidly left. During this encounter, Kerry received a minor wound in the left arm above the elbow. It was for this injury that Kerry received his first Purple Heart.
Kerry received his second Purple Heart for a wound received in action on the Bo De River on February 20, 1969. The plan had been for the Swift boats to be accompanied by support helicopters. On the way up the Bo De, however, the helicopters were attacked. They returned to their base to refuel and were unable to return to the mission for several hours. As the Swift boats reached the Cua Lon River, Kerry's boat was hit by a RPG round, and a piece of shrapnel hit Kerry's left leg, wounding him. Thereafter, they had no more trouble, and reached the Gulf of Thailand safely. Kerry still has shrapnel in his left thigh because the doctors tending to him decided to remove the damaged tissue and close the wound with sutures rather than make a wide opening to remove the shrapnel. Kerry received his second Purple Heart for this injury, but like several others wounded earlier that day, he did not lose any time off from duty.
Eight days later, on February 28, 1969, came the events for which Kerry was awarded his Silver Star. On this occasion, Kerry was in tactical command of his Swift boat and two others in an eight boat formation. Their mission on the Duong Keo river included bringing a demolition team and dozens of South Vietnamese Marines to destroy enemy sampans, structures and bunkers as described in the story The Death Of PCF 43. Running into an ambush, Kerry "directed the boats to turn to the beach and charge the Viet Cong positions" and he "expertly directed" his boat's fire and coordinated the deployment of the South Vietnamese troops, according to the original medal citation (signed by Admiral Zumwalt). Going a short distance farther, Kerry's boat was the target of an RPG round; as the boat beached at the site, a VC with a rocket launcher jumped and ran from a spider hole. While the boat's gunner opened fire, wounding the VC on the leg, and while the other boats approached and offered cover fire, Kerry jumped from the boat and chased the VC and killed him, capturing a loaded rocket launcher.
Kerry's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander George Elliott, joked to Douglas Brinkley in 2003 that he didn't know whether to court-martial Kerry for beaching the boat without orders or give him a medal for saving the crew. Elliott recommended Kerry for the Silver Star, and Zumwalt flew into An Thoi to personally award medals to Kerry and the rest of the sailors involved in the mission. The Navy's account of Kerry's actions is presented in the original medal citation signed by Zumwalt. The engagement was documented in an after-action report, a press release written on March 1, 1969, and a historical summary dated March 17, 1969.
On March 13, 1969, five Swift boats were returning to base together on the Bay Hap river from their missions that day, after a firefight earlier in the day (during which time Kerry received a slight shrapnel wound in the buttocks from blowing up a rice bunker), and debarking some but not all of the passengers at a small village. They approached a fishing weir (a series of poles across the river for hanging nets), so that one group of boats went around left, hugging the shore, and a group with Kerry's 94 boat went around right along the shoreline. A mine was detonated directly beneath the lead boat, PCF-3, as it crossed the weir to the left, lifting PCF-3 completely into the air.
James Rassmann, a Green Beret advisor who was aboard PCF-94, was knocked overboard when, according to witnesses and the documentation of the event, a mine or rocket exploded close to the boat. According to the documentation for the event, Kerry's arm was injured when he was thrown against a bulkhead during the explosion. PCF 94 returned to the scene and Kerry rescued Rassmann from the water. Kerry received the Bronze Star for his actions during this incident; he also received his third Purple Heart. After the crew of PCF-3 had been rescued, and the most seriously wounded sailors evacuated by two of the PCFs, PCF 94 and another boat remained behind and helped salvage the stricken boat together with a damage-control party that had been immediately dispatched to the scene.
Return From Vietnam
After Kerry's third qualifying wound, he was entitled per Navy regulations to re-assignment away from combat duties. Navy records show that Kerry's preferred choice for re-assignment was as an aide in Boston, New York or Washington, D.C.
On March 26, 1969, after a final patrol the night before, Kerry was transferred to Cam Ranh Bay to await his orders. He was there for five or six days and left Vietnam in early April. On April 11, 1969, he reported to the Brooklyn-based Atlantic Military Sea Transportation Service, where he would remain on active duty for the following year as a personal aide to an officer, Rear Admiral Walter Schlech. On January 1, 1970 Kerry was temporarily promoted to full Lieutenant. Kerry had agreed to an extension of his active duty obligation from December 1969 to August 1970 in order to perform Swift Boat duty, but in January, 1970, he requested early discharge in order to run for Congress the following fall. He was discharged from active duty on March 1, 1970.
John Kerry was on active duty in the United States Navy from August 1966 until January 1970. He continued to serve in the Naval Reserve until February 1978. Kerry lost at least five friends in the war including Yale classmate Richard Pershing, who was killed in action on February 17, 1968.
After returning to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Then numbering about 20,000, VVAW was considered by some (including the administration of President Richard Nixon) to be an effective, if controversial, component of the antiwar movement.
On April 22, 1971, Kerry became the first Vietnam veteran to testify before Congress about the war, when he appeared before a Senate committee hearing on proposals relating to ending the war. He was still a member of the United States Navy Reserve, holding the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. Wearing green fatigues and service ribbons, he spoke for nearly two hours with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in what has been named the Fulbright Hearing, after the Chairman of the proceedings, Senator J.W. Fulbright. Kerry began with a prepared speech, in which he presented the conclusions of the Winter Soldier Investigation, and then went on to address larger policy issues.
The day after this testimony, Kerry participated in a demonstration with thousands of other veterans in which he and other veterans threw their medals and ribbons over a fence erected at the front steps of the United States Capitol building to dramatize their opposition to the war. Jack Smith, a Marine, read a statement explaining why the veterans were returning their military awards to the government. For more than two hours, almost 1000 angry veterans tossed their medals, ribbons, hats, jackets, and military papers over the fence. Each veteran gave his or her name, hometown, branch of service and a statement. As Kerry threw his decorations over the fence, his statement was: "I'm not doing this for any violent reasons, but for peace and justice, and to try to make this country wake up once and for all." The documentary film Sir! No Sir! includes archival footage of Kerry at the demonstration: he is one of several young men seen throwing things over the fence.
Because Kerry was a decorated veteran who took a stand against the government's official position, he was frequently interviewed by broadcast and print media. He was able to use these occasions to bring the themes of his Senate testimony to a wider audience.
For example, Kerry appeared more than once on The Dick Cavett Show on ABC television. On one Cavett program (June 30, 1971), in debating John O'Neill, Kerry argued that some of the policies instituted by the U.S. military leaders in Vietnam, such as free-fire zones and burning noncombatants' houses, were contrary to the laws of war. In the Washington Star newspaper (June 6, 1971), he recounted how he and other Swift boat officers had become disillusioned by the contrast between what the leaders told them and what they saw: "That's when I realized I could never remain silent about the realities of the war in Vietnam."
On NBC's Meet The Press in 1971, Kerry was asked whether he had personally committed atrocities in Vietnam. He responded: "There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 calibre machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals."
Kerry's prominence also made him a frequent leader and spokesman at antiwar events around the country in 1971. One of particular note was Operation POW, organized by the VVAW in Massachusetts. The protest got its name from the group's concern that Americans were prisoners of the Vietnam War, as well as to honor American POWs held captive by North Vietnam. The event sought to tie antiwar activism to patriotic themes. Over the Memorial Day weekend, veterans and other participants marched from Concord to a rally on Boston Common. The plan was to invoke the spirit of the American Revolution and Paul Revere by spending successive nights at the sites of the Battle of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill, culminating in a Memorial Day rally with a public reading of the Declaration of Independence.
The second night of the march, May 29, 1971, was the occasion for Kerry's only arrest, when the participants tried to camp on the village green in Lexington. At 2:30 a.m. on May 30, 1971, local and state police awoke and arrested 441 demonstrators, including Kerry, for trespassing. All were given the Miranda Warning and were hauled away on school buses to spend the night at the Lexington Public Works Garage. Kerry and the other protesters later paid a $5 fine, and were released. The mass arrests caused a community backlash and ended up giving positive coverage to the VVAW.
Despite his role in Operation POW and other VVAW events, Kerry eventually quit the organization over leadership differences. Kerry has been criticized regarding VVAW—see John Kerry VVAW controversy for more details.
Early Political Career
In February 1972, after Kerry previously passed on an opportunity to run in another district, his wife, Julia bought a house in Worcester. Residence there would have required Kerry to run for Congress against an incumbent Democrat, Harold D. Donohue. Instead however, the couple rented an apartment in Lowell. The incumbent in that district, F. Bradford Morse, was a Republican who was thought to be retiring.
Counting Kerry, the Democratic primary race in 1972 had 10 candidates. One of these was State Representative Anthony R. DiFruscia of Lawrence. Both Kerry's and DiFuscia's campaign HQs were in the same building. On the eve of the September primary, Kerry's younger brother Cameron and campaign field director Thomas J. Vallely, both then 22 years old, were found by police in the basement of this building, where the telephone lines were located. They were arrested and charged with "breaking and entering with the intent to commit grand larceny", but the case was dismissed about a year later. At the time of the incident, DiFruscia alleged that they were trying to disrupt his get-out-the vote efforts. Vallely and Cameron Kerry maintained that they were only checking their own telephone lines because they had received an anonymous call warning that the Kerry lines would be cut.
Although Kerry's campaign was hurt by the election-day report of the arrest, he still won the primary, narrowly beating state Representative Paul J. Sheehy. DiFruscia placed third. Kerry lost in Lawrence and Lowell, his chief opponents' bases, but placed first in 18 of the district's 22 towns.
In the general election, Kerry was initially favored to defeat the Republican candidate, former state Representative Paul W. Cronin, and an independent, Roger P. Durkin. A major obstacle, however, was the district's leading newspaper, the conservative Sun. The paper editorialized against him. It also ran critical news stories about his out-of-state contributions and his "carpetbagging", because he had moved into the district only in April. Subsequently released "Watergate" Oval Office tape recordings of the Nixon White House showed that defeating Kerry's candidacy had attracted the personal attention of President Nixon.
The final blow came when, four days before the election, Durkin withdrew in favor of Cronin. Cronin won the election, becoming the only Republican to be elected to Congress that November in a district carried by Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern.
After Kerry's 1972 defeat, he and his wife bought a house in Lowell. He spent some time working as a fundraiser for the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE), an international humanitarian organization. He decided that the best way for him to continue in public life was to study law. In September 1973, he entered Boston College Law School. In July 1974, while attending law school, Kerry was named executive director of Mass Action, a Massachusetts advocacy association.
He received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Boston College in 1976. While in law school he had been a student prosecutor in the office of the District Attorney of Middlesex County, John J. Droney. After passing the bar exam and being admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1976, he went to work in that office as a full-time prosecutor.
In January 1977, Droney promoted him to First Assistant District Attorney. In that position, Kerry had dual roles. First, he tried cases, winning convictions in a high-profile rape case and a murder. Second, he played a role in administering the office of the district attorney by initiating the creation of special white-collar and organized crime units, creating programs to address the problems of rape and other crime victims and of witnesses, and managing trial calendars to reflect case priorities. It was in this role in 1978 that Kerry announced an investigation into possible criminal charges against then Senator Edward Brooke, regarding "misstatements" in his first divorce trial.
Lieutenant Governor Tenure
In 1979, Kerry resigned from the District Attorney's office to set up a private law firm with another former prosecutor. And, although his private law practice was a success, Kerry was still interested in public office. He re-entered electoral politics by running for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and won a narrow victory in the 1982 Democratic primary. The ticket, with Michael Dukakis as the gubernatorial candidate, won the general election without difficulty. The position of Lieutenant Governor carried few inherent responsibilities. Dukakis, however, delegated additional matters to Kerry. In particular, Kerry's interest in environmental protection led him to become heavily involved in the issue of acid rain. His work contributed to a National Governors Association resolution in 1984 that was a precursor to the 1990 amendments to the federal Clean Air Act.
During his campaign, Kerry had argued that nuclear evacuation planning was "a sham intended to deceive Americans into believing they could survive a nuclear war". Once in office, he drafted an Executive Order condemning such planning, which Dukakis signed despite having lost the presidential election.
Election For U.S. Senate
The junior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas, announced in 1984 that he would be stepping down for health reasons. Kerry decided to run for the seat. As in his 1982 race for Lieutenant Governor, he did not receive the endorsement of the party regulars at the state Democratic convention. Again as in 1982, however, he prevailed in a close primary. In his campaign, he promised to mix liberalism with tight budget controls. As the Democratic candidate, he was elected to the Senate despite a nationwide landslide for the re-election of Republican president Ronald Reagan, for whom Massachusetts voted by a narrow margin. In his acceptance speech, Kerry asserted that his win meant that the people of Massachusetts "emphatically reject the politics of selfishness and the notion that women must be treated as second-class citizens." Kerry was sworn in as a U.S. Senator in January 1985.
U.S Senate Tenure
George H.W. Bush administration
Precursors to Presidential Bid
2004 Presidential Candidacy
In the 2004 Democratic Presidential primaries, John Kerry defeated several Democratic rivals, including Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina.), former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and retired Army General Wesley Clark. His victory in the Iowa caucuses is widely believed to be the tipping point where Kerry revived his sagging campaign in New Hampshire and the February 3, 2004, primary states like Arizona, South Carolina and New Mexico. Kerry then went on to win landslide victories in Nevada and Wisconsin. Kerry thus won the Democratic nomination to run for President of the United States against incumbent George W. Bush.
On November 3, 2004, Kerry emerged victorious after narrowly beating Bush in the final state of Ohio. The end result was Kerry winning 61.03 million votes, or 48.9 percent of the popular vote and 272 electoral votes (270 needed to win); Bush won 61.07 million votes, or 49.1 percent of the popular vote and 266 electoral votes.
In his acceptance speech Kerry claimed: "a stronger America begins today!".
It was this win that split the United States apart by another four years because while current sources on this site says he narrowly beat his opponent President George Bush (Son) we on the West Coast were celebrating as President Bush had just been re-elected for another four years. This announcement came many hours even after California polling had closed and absentee ballots were counted but it wasn't until the next morning on November 4th the day after election day and after everything had been verified were they able to announce that it was President Bush and not John Kerry as first believed that won this election. This fateful election and the choices that were made from that point have led us to where we are today and the four year time difference that was dealt.
So what a predicament and better question what should be done now because many went to bed election night believing that John Kerry would be the next President of the United States. A closed door meeting of minds led to a decision to speed up the time in the people that knew Bush would be returning for his second term as president of the United States while slowing down the time and using careful edited information those who believed it to be John Kerry that defeated the current President Bush. Making a deal that John Kerry would not only win the president seat at the next election but would stay in office for two consecutive terms - which would have been fine except here in California John Kerry was never elected president but another democrat = a black man by the name of Barack Obama who came out of nowhere winning in 2008 and it was he who was re-elected for a second term (though for the life of almost everyone no one could figure out how or why) so while you have President John Kerry and the first female Vice President Hilary Clinton we here (in Calabasas, California) have a black President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. How could this have happened? How could the world that was so carefully scripted and slow have sped up so fast and now has surpassed those who have always lived ahead? The next election coming up this year will likely see republican Donald Trump win for President as he fits easily into the shoes of former President Bill Clinton and my guess for the next Vice President (as it has yet to be announced) would be Republican Rand Paul as he fits easily into Kerry's shoes (and very closely really resembles his son - let's call him Three).