Whopper of the Week: John Kerry
Did he pretend to be Irish?
"[John] Kerry acknowledged that some voters in Massachusetts, the nation's most Irish-American state, may have had the impression that he had Irish roots. He said that he knew of no Irish ancestry and that he had always tried to correct misstatements whenever he learned about them.
"Numerous publications, including the Globe, have stated that Kerry is Irish-American.
"'I'm sure some people see the name and say, "Hey, I think it's this or that," but I've been clear as a bell,' Kerry said. 'I've always been absolutely straight up front about it.'
"Kerry 'has never indicated to anyone that he was Irish and corrected people over the years who assumed he was,' [spokeswoman Kelly] Benander said."
—Michael Kranish, "Search for Kerry's Roots Finds Surprising History," in the Feb. 2 Boston Globe.
''For those of us who are fortunate to share an Irish ancestry, we take great pride in the contributions that Irish-Americans …"
—Senate floor statement by John Kerry, March 18, 1986, as quoted in Frank Phillips' and Brian C. Mooney's "1986 Statement Counters Kerry's Stand on Heritage," in the March 6 Boston Globe.
"As some of you may know, I am part-English and part-Irish. And when my Kerry ancestors first came over to Massachusetts from the old country to find work in the New World, it was my English ancestors who refused to hire them."
—Draft remarks prepared for Kerry in 1984, quoted by Phillips and Mooney in the March 6 Globe. Kerry was lieutenant governor of Massachusetts at the time.
Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.