John Kerry: The Rolling Stone Interview

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What do you think of the Vote for Change concerts that Bruce Springsteen organized?

I haven't been able to go. I'm jealous of everybody who is. It's separate from us – they've done it by themselves. But I'm obviously elated. His music has been the theme song of our campaign from Day One. To have him out there is both a privilege and exciting. I hope it has an impact on the outcome.

Who are your favorite rock & roll artists?

Oh, gosh. I'm, you know, a huge Rolling Stones fan; Beatles fan. One of the most cherished photographs in my life is a picture of me with John Lennon – who I met back in 1971 at an anti-war rally. But I love a lot of different performers.

Do you have a favorite Beatles song – or Stones song?

I love "Satisfaction" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Brown Sugar." I love "Imagine" and "Yesterday."

You're a greatest-hits kind of guy.

My favorite album is Abbey RoadI love "Hey Jude." I also like folk music. I like some classical. I love guitar. Oh, God. I mean, you know – Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Buffett …

OK – enough. Let's talk about movies quickly. Of the Vietnam movies you've seen, what's the most accurate? And your favorite?

The most powerful Vietnam movie, to me, was The Deer Hunter, which was more about what happened to the folks who went, and about their relationships … and about what happened to this small-town community. I thought it was a brilliant movie, because the metaphor of Russian roulette was an incredible way of capturing the fatalism about it all: the sense that things were out of your control. And it really talked to what happened to the folks who went. So I thought it was a very, very powerful movie. Also, Full Metal Jacket, Platoon, Coming Home, Born on the Fourth of July – those are powerful too.

How about Apocalypse Now? Was that what it was like going up river, on those boats?

That's exactly how it was, man. Sitting in that river, waiting for someone to shoot you – but the later part of the movie, after the point where they get to the bridge, then everything becomes a little psychedelic. That got a little distant from me.

Finally, if you were to look back over eight years of a Kerry presidency, what would you hope would be said about it?

That it always told the truth to the American people, that it always fought for average folks. And that we raised the quality of life in America and made America safer. I want to be the president who gets health care done for Americans. I want to be the president who helps to fix our schools and end this separate-and-unequal school system we have in America. And I want to be the president who re-establishes America's reputation in the world – which is part of making us safer. There's a huge opportunity here to really lift our country up, and that's what I want to do.

This story is from the November 11th, 2004 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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