Signs of the times

Responding to a taunt by the White House that he “looks French,” U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday brushed off the political insult – saying it’s part of an expected barrage of Republican attacks on his character.

“It means the White House has started the politics of personal destruction,” Kerry said of the comment by an unnamed Bush adviser.

A New York Times report quoted Republican officials and Bush advisers yesterday saying that Kerry’s presidential campaign wouldn’t play well out of New England because of his “haughty air” and Boston upbringing.

“He looks French,” said one Bush adviser, handing the Massachusetts Democrat what is probably the ultimate postwar political putdown.