Friday April 23, 2004 12:46 AM
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Does John Kerry, who supports higher automobile fuel economy standards, own a gas-guzzling SUV? He does, but says it belongs to the family, not to him.
During a conference call Thursday with reporters to discuss his upcoming jobs tour through West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, the Democratic presidential candidate was asked whether he owned a Chevrolet Suburban.
“I don’t own an SUV,” said Kerry, who supports increasing existing fuel economy standards to 36 miles per gallon by 2015 in order to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil supplies.
Kerry also has made rising gasoline prices an issue in the campaign against President Bush. In Houston on Thursday, Kerry said the president broke a 2000 campaign pledge to “jawbone” oil-producing nations by pressuring them to increase their output.
Kerry thought for a second when asked whether his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, had a Suburban at their Ketchum, Idaho, home. Kerry said he owns and drives a Dodge 600 and recently bought a Chrysler 300M. He said his wife owns the Chevrolet SUV.
“The family has it. I don’t have it,” he said.
Kerry said it’s important for his family to buy American cars and pledged to keep car manufacturing jobs in the country if elected. He said he is interested in a hybrid car, and has talked to Ford about making it the “campaign car.”
“We’re going to keep jobs in America and help the industry be more competitive with foreign manufacturers that are building those cars today,” Kerry said.
The Massachusetts senator said he’ll release more details during the jobs tour about his plans to keep jobs in the country.
“I want cars to be made in Michigan, made in America, made” by the United Auto Workers, Kerry said.
On the Net:
Kerry campaign: http://www.johnkerry.com