Florida Teen’s Hip-Hop Homage Moves Kerry

Presidential candidates are often showered with flowers, T-shirts, handwritten notes and other mementos.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) even got a personalized rap song Wednesday, after an hourlong meeting with a dozen healthcare workers in Orlando, Fla. One of the workers had brought along her 14-year-old son, Philip Wickham, who showed Kerry a rap he had written that included several lines about healthcare:

I don’t have insurance and I love that you’re struggling to make it cheaper

I’m scared to get hurt, because if I break my finger one day


I can’t go to the hospital cuz I don’t got the money to pay.

“I like that, man. That’s fantastic,” Kerry said.

After the boy rhymed the rap aloud, the candidate, eyes reddened, embraced him.

Abuzz Over Kerry


What do John F. Kerry and Brood X, the swarm of cicadas buzzing to life along the East Coast after 17 years underground, have in common?

More than meets the eye, according to an Internet spot released Friday by the Republican National Committee.

The 60-second jab at Kerry features footage of the large, winged insect wriggling out of its old skin.

A voice-over compares several of Kerry’s votes from 17 years ago -- some in opposition to his stances today -- to a cicada shedding its shell.


“Like a cicada, Sen. Kerry would like to shed his Senate career, and morph into a fiscal conservative, a centrist Democrat opposed to taxes, strong on defense, but -- he leaves his record behind.”

The notice, with audio snippets of the cicada’s whirring drone, was posted on the RNC website and e-mailed to more than 700,000 supporters.

Democrats are “not bugging out” over the GOP’s latest criticism of Kerry, Democratic National Committee spokesman Jano Cabrera said to Associated Press.

Checking on Cheney


Vice President Dick Cheney’s annual cardiac checkup last week went smoothly, a spokesman said.

Cheney, who has had four heart attacks, has a pacemaker.

After an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test, physical and pacemaker check, Cheney was pronounced healthy.

George Washington University doctors found that Cheney’s pacemaker -- which corrects an irregular heartbeat when necessary -- had never been activated.


Who’s Counting?

5 feet, 11 inches: President George W. Bush’s height.

6 feet, 4 inches: Sen. John F. Kerry’s height.

2: Number of elections the shorter presidential candidate has won since the advent of television.


The winners? 5-foot, 9-inch Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bush in 2000.

Duly Quoted

“You know, Bill Clinton -- how many of you remember Bill Clinton? He has a brand-new book coming out in the next couple of months, and the Democrats are worried that the Clinton book might upstage the Kerry campaign. And I’m thinking ' ... A day-old meatloaf might upstage that campaign!’ ” -- David Letterman on CBS’ “Late Show” Tuesday.

“The questions were a whole lot easier, and the rewards for answering correctly were a whole lot better.” -- Former White House spokesman Ari Fleisher on his recent celebrity “Jeopardy!” victory.


Compiled from staff, Web and wire reports by Times staff researcher Susannah Rosenblatt.