Having a mom in Congress and as head of the Democratic National Committee means that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's, D-Fla., three kids hear a lot of Washington talk. But what they take away from that talk – well, sometimes it's just funny.
For instance, after she first got elected to congress in 2004, the family headed to Washington for her swearing-in ceremony.
"The first thing they ask me – can we meet John Kerry?" she tells Whispers. "They're five." Kerry, at that point, had just lost a bruising presidential campaign to unseat President George W. Bush.
As Wasserman Schultz explained in her new book, "For the Next Generation," the 2004 election cycle was the first political teachable moment for her eldest kids, twins Rebecca and Jake. She explained to them a little bit about why their family was for Kerry. "I'm not sure I want to be on the record about how I explained George W. Bush to them," she laughs.
Once in Washington, Kerry happily obliged to meet the kids, giving them more than enough of his time, the congresswoman recalled. Wasserman Schultz said she was touched. "His persona...was that of a windsurfing elitist, at least the way Republicans painted him, and I saw a man, during the campaign and afterward, that was really warm and [a] wonderful father figure," she says.
More seriously though, Wasserman Schultz recalled – in an interview with Julie Mason on SiriusXM's POTUS channel – having to explain to son Jake what "being gay" meant when he was just in fourth grade. She realized after he asked, that at this moment, "OK, I am standing on a crossroads here in my child's life and this is the moment when people either turn their children into bigots and narrow-minded individuals or they have an opportunity to open their eyes to tolerance."
Wasserman Schultz, a pro-gay marriage Democrat, chose the latter. "And I explained to Jake that there are some people who are born and they're attracted to the opposite sex – like your mom and dad – and other people who are born and they're attracted to someone who is the same sex and neither is preferable, they're both normal," she recalled saying. "And that there are some people that think it's only OK to like somebody of the opposite sex."
Fast forward to several years later and Jake is 12 (he's 14 now). He's driving with Wasserman Schultz and they're listening to a report on the radio about the gay marriage controversy. "And all of the sudden Jake blurts out, 'who really cares, who people marry?'" Wasserman Schultz said. "And I said to myself, 'my work is done here.'"