Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kerry under Pressure over Claims of Affair with Mystery Woman; 'DIRTY TRICKS' ROW AS DEMOCRATIC HOPEFUL ACCUSED ON WEBSITE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kerry under Pressure over Claims of Affair with Mystery Woman; 'DIRTY TRICKS' ROW AS DEMOCRATIC HOPEFUL ACCUSED ON WEBSITE

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES LANGTON

PRESIDENTIAL hopeful John Kerry is facing growing pressure to answer allegations that he had an affair with a mystery woman.

Supporters of the Democratic frontrunner say he is the victim of a "dirty tricks" campaign after reports that he tried to cover up the relationship when the claims were revealed on a website.

After a day of lying low in Washington, the 61-year-old senator is expected to tackle the rumours at a series of media appearances today. His officials have refused to comment in public on the claims, which surfaced on the conservative Drudge Report website, run by the tipster who first reported Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

But they are said to be furious at what they see as a Rightwing smear campaign against the man most likely to face President Bush as the Democratic candidate in November.

The allegations are that Senator Kerry, whose wife Theresa is a member of the wealthy Heinz family, had been involved with a young intern working at a major news organisation.

The intern was said to have fled America at the urging of Mr Kerry after a friend approached a reporter with "fantastic stories".

The Drudge Report claimed two of Mr Kerry's rivals for the Democrat nominations knew about the allegations. It said General Wesley Clark, who bowed out of the race two days ago, told reporters privately: "Kerry will implode over an intern issue."

The rumours are said to explain why Howard Dean decided to stay in the race despite trailing badly in the polls.

In what will be seen as an attempt to rebuff the allegations, General Clark's campaign has said he will publicly endorse Mr Kerry today.

The presidential race has become mired in smears this week, with the White House forced to deny reports that President Bush failed to turn up for part of his military service in the Seventies. And two days ago a photograph appeared showing Mr Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran, with actress Jane Fonda at a 1970 antiwar rally. …

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