She is both rich and reachable.
"I'd like to be a dog," she says to a group of pre-schoolers. "Do you know why? Wouldn't you like to be a dog? I would. Dogs are friendly."
Teresa Heinz Kerry is one of the wealthiest women in the world. She's worth an estimated $500 million, and, as CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts reports, she is not easily defined.
She's been described as outspoken, blunt and odd.
"Yeah, I am odd in the sense that I have so many different mixes in my life," she says.
She was born in Mozambique, the daughter of a Portuguese physician, and she speaks five languages.
Her part-time job: campaigning for her husband Senator John Kerry. Her full time job: running a $1 billion foundation named after her late husband, Republican Pennsylvania Senator John Heinz. She even, on occasion, bakes brownies for the campaign press corps.
Close friends call her "Momma T" for her nurturing ways. But staffers note she moves when and how she chooses.
She only recently started using Kerry's last name and was prompted more by anger than ambition to change her party affiliation.
"I was very upset at the way the party dealt with Max Cleland of Georgia," she says.
Cleland is the Democratic senator who lost re-election in a bitter campaign when Republicans attacked his patriotism. In 1968, Cleland lost his right arm and both legs in Vietnam.
"I thought it was disgusting," says Heinz Kerry. "All I could think was, 'What does the Republican Party need - a fourth limb to make a person a hero?' And this coming from people who have not served. I was really offended by that. Unscrupulous and disgusting."
She is equally defiant when questioned about the controversy over her refusal to release her income tax returns and those portions involving her three sons.
"They will be released by October," she says. "Anything that I have that is joint with my children, I will not divulge. Period."
On the campaign trail, voters, especially women, seem drawn to her.
"She's a very strong woman, a very deep and thoughtful woman," says Kerry supporter Molly Fox. "But, unfortunately, there are certain people in our country who are terrified of strong women."
Not her husband.
Asked how he feels when the criticism is aimed at his wife, Kerry says, "When it's silly stuff, and a lot of it is, incredibly unfactual, I get angry about it."
Friends call the Kerry's a "mature marriage," seasoned by age and mutual attraction.
Kerry describes his wife as "saucy, sexy and brilliant."
"I mean, I'm cheeky, I'm sexy, whatever," she says. "You know, I've got a lot of life inside."
When Pitts asked how many 65-year-olds call call themselves sexy, she smiles slyly and quips: "How many of that age have you asked?"
Heinz Kerry is her own woman. If she becomes first lady, she says, she won't try and change the world and the world won't change her.
Copyright 2004 CBS. All rights reserved.