Monday, June 21, 2004

Pratfalls with Lurch

A Few Obstacles Don't Keep Kerry From Seaside Break:
Thwarted by fog, a flat bicycle tire and a tricky wind, Senator John Kerry spent most of a shortened Father's Day weekend secluded in his wife's seaside retreat here in one of the nation's most exclusive summer playgrounds.

His Boeing 757 campaign plane was grounded in Washington on Friday night when the weather prevented landing at Nantucket's airstrip, which has seen only one jet of such size before. Arriving late Saturday morning, his planned bicycle ride around the island was aborted after he discovered a bubble on his back tire. And on Sunday morning, he sped out to a remote beach in his stepson's powerboat in hopes of kite-surfing, a new extreme sport, only to return home after half an hour without even zipping up his wetsuit.

"The wind died," Mr. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, told reporters as he cruised by on the 32-foot Contender, a gentleman's fishing vessel said to cost about $150,000.
At least it wasn't the fault of some Secret Service agent.
Mr. Kerry and his family did dine out Saturday night at the Pearl, where sautéed yuzu-dusted day boat sea scallops go for $36, with his fellow senator from Massachusetts, Edward M. Kennedy, his wife, Vicki, and her parents. But on Sunday afternoon, he canceled a beachside brunch at one of the island's most expensive restaurants, with aides explaining that his two adult daughters preferred a quiet meal at home.

Over all, Mr. Kerry's first visit here since he clinched the Democratic presidential nomination this spring made barely a hiccup in the hubbub, as Nantucket's summer season, when the population swells from 10,000 to more than 50,000, opened with a film festival that drew Jim Carrey, John Irving and Cynthia Nixon. Other than people who saw his red, white and blue plane parked at the airport many here did not even realize Mr. Kerry was in their midst.
Poor baby! And I hope everyone was careful to keep their distance from Teddy while he was chowing down as well as making sure he didn't get his hands on the keys to the cars or the boats.
Mr. Kerry has been coming here regularly since at least 1995, when he married the ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz at the three-story, five-bedroom house she owns on Brant Point, where the clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger also has a home and H. Wayne Huizenga, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, recently sold one. Valued at $9 million in 1995, the house - like nearly every other one here in the tightly controlled historic district, weathered gray cedar shingles with white trim - has a large screened-in porch, decorative columns, and a green-and-white love-seat swing on its sandy front lawn.
Though some Democrats were concerned about the image of their wealthy candidate frolicking among the fabulously wealthy here on an island where the average home sells for $1.4 million, Mr. Kerry insisted not only on coming, but also on trying to kite-surf, a dangerous combination of waterskiing and parasailing with basic equipment costing about $2,500.

"Let Kerry be Kerry," said David Wade, Mr. Kerry's press secretary. "It's a place he and his family have been coming to for years. He loves to be out on the water.''

"He'll be America's most active president since Teddy Roosevelt," Mr. Wade added.
Actually, it seems fairly obsessive - more like the caged hamster on a treadmill. But at least this time there weren't any bizarre wardrobe snaps. As for being a "man of the people," that schtick was getting pretty old.