Republicans dip freedom fries in "W Ketchup", not Heinz
Fri Jul 9,11:54 AM ET

WASHINGTON, (AFP) - Americans allergic to the subtle Democratic flavor of Heinz ketchup can now plunge their "freedom fries" into a 100-percent guaranteed, patriotic alternative: "W Ketchup."

"You don't support Democrats. Why should your ketchup?" says the W Ketchup Internet site, which promises a totally US-made condiment, right down to the bottle.

Heinz ketchup is an institution on American dining tables.

But the taste has soured a little for Republicans because Heinz empire heiress Teresa Heinz-Kerry is married to John Kerry (news - web sites), the Democrat hoping to unseat George W. Bush -- also known simply as "W" -- on November 2.

W Ketchup insists its initial stands for Washington, as in first president George Washington, whose face adorns its bottle beneath the Stars and Stripes.

The new-comer makes no attempt to hide its leanings, even sporting a poetic homage to Republican icon Ronald Reagan (news - web sites), who died June 5 at 93, on its Internet site.

"G5s (Gulfstream jets) or GIs? A Tough Choice," W. Ketchup tells prospective customers.

"Choose Heinz and you're supporting Teresa and her husband's Gulfstream Jet, and liberal causes such as Kerry for President," it warns.

"When you choose W Ketchup, you also support the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to the children of our brave heroes who have fallen in battle."

Heinz has 57 varieties, but also 57 foreign factories, it claims.

"W Ketchup comes in one flavor: American."

"We are simply a group of friends who came up with the idea at a barbecue in upstate New York a few months ago. We are all investors," said W Ketchup chief operating officer Susie Oliver.

Thousands of bottles had been sold in the three and a half weeks of business, she said. Orders are taken in batches of four bottles for 12 dollars plus shipping.

Testimonials on the company's Internet site are glowing for the Republican-style ketchup.

"Thank you for giving us a delicious American alternative to the standard Heinz Ketchup. Henry Heinz may have been a great American, but I have absolutely no interest in supporting The Kerry's anti-American causes," wrote "S.S" of Akron, Ohio.

Heinz says it is non-partisan, stressing that all the Heinz family trusts together hold less than four percent of the stock. Neither Teresa Heinz, nor her husband, have any role in management, it stresses.

The ketchup war is only the latest political skirmish to be fought on the battlegound of American menus.


Many Americans, angered by France's refusal to back the war in Iraq (news - web sites), switched last year to calling their French fries "freedom fries."

Star Spangled Ice Cream was also launched last year as a conservative alternative to the produce of Ben and Gerry's, the ecology-leaning company whose founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield had supported Democrat Dennis Kucinich (news - web sites)'s unsuccessful campaign for the presidential nomination.

Among the flavors offered by Star Spangled Ice Cream: "I Hate The French VANILLA (Real American Vanilla, NOT French Vanilla)" and "Nutty Environmentalist (Rich Buttery Ice Cream with Roasted Pecans)."