Boston Teresa Heinz Kerry presented her husband to the world Tuesday as a defender of freedom, environmental savior and all-American patriot who would not "mistake stubbornness for strength" as the nation's next commander in chief.
"John is a fighter," Heinz Kerry said of her husband, a Vietnam War combat veteran, on the second night of the Democratic National Convention. "He earned his medals the old-fashioned way -- by putting his life on the line for his country."
In a 20-minute speech, Heinz Kerry made a single personal reference to her husband.
"Today, the better angels of our nature are just waiting to be summoned," she said, quoting from Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural speech. "We only require a leader who is willing to call on them ... I think I've found just the guy. I'm married to him."
Kerry watched his wife's speech from his Philadelphia hotel room, on his last night before his arrival today in Boston.
Her speech capped a night focused on shoring up the candidate's national security credentials.
"For him, the names of many friends inscribed in the Vietnam Memorial -- that cold stone -- testify to the awful toll exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness for strength," Heinz Kerry said. "In America, the true patriots are those who dare speak truth to power."
Heinz Kerry said her husband was tested by war but "knows the importance of getting it right." A Navy officer, Kerry was awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and three Purple Hearts for Vietnam War service.
Heinz Kerry made the biggest speech of her life at a time when she is feeling the glare of the campaign spotlight, after telling a Pennsylvania reporter to "shove it" Sunday.
"By now I hope it will come as no surprise that I have something to say," she said, to a sea of "We Love Teresa" signs. "My right to speak my mind, to have a voice, to be what some called 'opinionated,' is a right I deeply and profoundly cherish."
Heinz Kerry earned one of her biggest applause lines when she shared her hope that "women -- who have all earned the right to their opinions -- instead of being labeled opinionated, will be called smart or well-informed, just as men are."