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'This won't go away. What happened is much nastier than is being reported'


By Adrian Blomfeld in Nairobi and Andrew Alderson
(Filed: 15/02/2004)

Alex Polier, the twenty-four year old journalist who could end Senator John Kerry's hopes of becoming the next president of the United States is alleged to have had a two-year affair with the front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Last night the rumours were in danger of becoming a full-blown scandal. Alex Polier, 24, is alleged to have had an affair with John Kerry.

   "This is not going to go away," one American friend of Miss Polier said yesterday. "What actually happened is much nastier than is being reported." The allegations come at a crucial time for the senator. Polls showed him leading Mr Bush by 52 per cent to 42 per cent, and aides will be anxious to see if the apparent scandal affects his standing among voters.
Miss Polier, a former intern who also spent some time in 1998 doing work experience at the Houses of Parliament in London, is in Kenya staying with Yaron Schwartzman, her fiance and a member of the country's fashionable young set. The couple have refused to make any comment on her alleged links with Senator Kerry, who is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry, an heiress to the food empire.
   Senator Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran dubbed the new JFK, has vehemently denied any relationship with Miss Polier, and shrugged off allegations that he had a two-year affair with her from 2001. "I just deny it categorically. It's rumour. It's untrue. Period," he said.
Mr Kerry, 60, has won 12 out of the 14 Democratic primaries and has looked all but certain to seal the nomination to take on President George W. Bush in November's elections.
His aides have blamed a dirty tricks campaign for bringing the allegations about Miss Polier into the public eye; they first surfaced last week on a Right-wing internet site, the Drudge Report, which famously first broke the news of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Miss Polier's parents, Terry and Donna, from Malvern, Pennsylvania, added fuel to the fire by claiming that Mr Kerry did pursue their daughter. "I think he's a sleazeball. I did wonder if she didn't get that feeling herself," said Mr Polier. "He's not the sort of guy I'd choose to be with my daughter. "John Kerry called my daughter and invited her to be on his re-election committee. She talked to him and decided against it."
   The Drudge website also quoted retired Gen Wesley Clark, one of Mr. Kerry's rivals for the nomination, as having told journalists off the record: "Kerry will implode over an intern issue."
Mr Clark later dropped out of the race and endorsed Mr. Kerry.
   Miss Polier, a journalist who once worked for Associated Press, is a graduate of Columbia University, New York. She apparently met the senator as she was beginning her media career. Miss Polier and her fiance were believed to be hiding yesterday at the Nairobi home of Mr Schwartzman's parents, who moved to Kenya from Israel.
She appears to have few friends of her own in Kenya: she has never lived in the country and makes only occasional visits. "She seemed perfectly nice, although she was a little cool," said a Schwartzman family friend. "She didn't seem to be very willing to open up but whether it was because she was aloof or just shy, I couldn't work out."





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