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Inside Politics

Heinz Kerry apologizes for remark

She 'forgot' Laura Bush worked as teacher, librarian

Teresa Heinz Kerry, left, embraces first lady Laura Bush.
Teresa Heinz Kerry
Laura Bush

(CNN) -- Teresa Heinz Kerry apologized Wednesday for telling USA Today that she was unsure if first lady Laura Bush had ever held a "real job."

Heinz Kerry said she was "sincerely sorry" for the remark.

"I had forgotten that Mrs. Bush had worked as a schoolteacher and librarian, and there couldn't be a more important job than teaching our children," Heinz Kerry said. "As someone who has been both a full time mom and full time in the workforce, I know we all have valuable experiences that shape who we are. I appreciate and honor Mrs. Bush's service to the country as first lady, and am sincerely sorry I had not remembered her important work in the past."

In an interview published in USA Today Wednesday, Heinz Kerry was asked about the differences between the first lady and herself.

"Well, you know, I don't know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good. But I don't know that she's ever had a real job -- I mean, since she's been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things."

She added, "And I'm older, and my validation of what I do and what I believe and my experience is a little bit bigger -- because I'm older, and I've had different experiences. And it's not a criticism of her. It's just, you know, what life is about."

Laura Bush earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Southern Methodist University in 1968 and a master of library science degree from the University of Texas in 1973. Between 1968 and 1977, she taught in public schools in Dallas and Houston and was a librarian in Austin.

Karen Hughes, a senior Bush campaign adviser, called Heinz Kerry's remarks "inappropriate."

start quoteThe apology almost made the comment worse because she seems to have forgotten that being a mother is a real job.end quote
-- Bush campaign advisor Karen Hughes

"I think it's very nice that she apologized, but in some ways the apology almost made the comment worse because she seems to have forgotten that being a mother is a real job," Hughes told CNN. "I think it's just unfortunate to try to disparage women who have made the choice of making their families a priority."

Born in Mozambique, Heinz Kerry worked for the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations in the 1960s when she moved to the United States. She has also been the chairman of The Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies since her first husband, Sen. John Heinz, died in a plane crash in 1991.

Heinz Kerry has three sons and two step-daughters. The first lady has two daughters.

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