THE KEKE DIFFERENCE
For nearly a decade, presidential candidate John Anderson has cherished driving an old, tan Buick convertible. Part would fall off and he kept on driving it. Recently, however, his wife Keke told him: "Not one more cent is going into that thing."m
In may of Anderson's decisions -- leaving Congress to run for president, leaving the Republican Party to run independent -- his often headstrong and outspoken wife of 27 years has helped light the fire.
Daughter of a Boston Greek barber, "Keke has much more of a sense of going for the jugular," a staff aide says. She does not hesitate to call an opponent a fascist or racist. When the Anderson staff first talked of an independent presidential campaign in a Boston hotel room, it was reported that she jumped up and down on the bed, screaming "Third party! third party!"
The two met in 1952 when he went for his passport photo as a Foreign Service officer. She was behind the camera and knew he was the man for her. After dating three months, he went to Germany, telling her she had "puppy love." Keke wrote him later saying she was getting married. He responded with a telegram to come to him. They married and only later did he learn that she had not been engaged. She now admits it was "innocent blackmail."
At first glance, the Andersons are an odd couple -- she is extroverted and volative, he is introverted and reserved. "She is a fiery Greek to his Swedish cool," a friend says. But adds former aide Paul Henry, "They are not only deeply in love, they are madly in love. It is a mad adolescent love.
For a congressman's wife who spent most of her time raising five children (ages 8 to 26), she campaigns like a pro, although sometimes irritating voters with her strong comments.
As a first lady, she only plans to speak out on energy and nuclear arms. "After 20 years in Washington, you come away speechless. I sometimes feel like opening the window and yelling, 'I'm mad and I won't take it anymore!'"