When he finished, the audience gave him another standing ovation – all except for those people at the table in the center. But now, at least, they were applauding.

It was after midnight and John Kerry had taken off his black tie and was sitting at the kitchen table making himself a glass of chocolate milk.

"It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," he said. "The people were pretty much won over before I started talking, though. I'd rather speak to the unconverted and if I have to wear a tuxedo to do it, it's worth it."

The phone rang. It was after midnight and they were still calling John Kerry to make arrangements for him to appear on a television show. David Frost, Dick Cavett, 60 Minutes – he was making the rounds.

"Look," he said when he got off. "I know it's unfair that they've picked up on me. There are plenty of people around like Al Hubbard. He's a vet who's been saying the same things as I have for years, and very eloquently too, but he happens to be black so they don't listen.

"That's one of the problems about this country. And along with that goes the fact that they'd listen to the veterans, but not the people who came to Washington in the weeks after we were there.

"So what am I supposed to do? Stop speaking because I come from Yale and still wear a jacket and tie and my hair is relatively short? That's where I am. If it enables me to reach people, I'll continue to do it."

Kerry said he hadn't read all of the clippings in the local papers which had him running for the various offices. "I think one of the reasons that happened was because the columnists remembered me from last year when I was a candidate for Congress for three weeks. It was natural they'd begin to speculate."

And equally true that the veterans would begin to wonder about his motives?

"Yes, I suppose that's true," he said. "But I'm really too confused right now to make a decision about running for anything. I'm not sure it's the right way for me anymore.

"Sure, I know all about my initials, and the way I piloted one of those little boats, just like President Kennedy. But when I went to Washington, I expected to be thrown in jail for camping on the mall or something like that. You can't run for anything in this country from a jail cell."

There was a picture hanging on the wall in John Kerry's bathroom, of all places. It was a photograph of a group of people sailing on a yacht, and it was an ordinary type of picture except for one thing: there was a man who stood out from the crowd of society people, even though he was seated inconspicuously in the middle of them. He was wearing a blue sport shirt, sunglasses and had golden brown hair. You noticed the face and then did a double-take: It was John F. Kennedy.

Looking more closely at the picture, you saw a gangly youth with a very serious expression on his face, looking over toward the President. That was John F. Kerry.

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  Topics: Flashbacks , Boston Globe, JFK, Kerry
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