I’m willing to give Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t choose to berth his new yacht in Rhode Island just to avoid Massachusetts taxes.

Still, the yacht issue is another embarrassment for Kerry, who didn’t have such a great week last week. First he was forced to admit that he didn’t have the 60 votes he would need to get the climate change bill he has worked so hard on over the past year to the Senate floor. Instead, he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will settle for a much less ambitious bill that would focus on the oil spill cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico and tighter household energy efficiency standards. And even the more limited bill may not get passed given the limited sense of bipartisanship in the Senate these days.

Still, talk of Kerry’s new $7 million yacht and the estimated $437,500 in sales tax and $70,000 in annual excise tax he will save by docking it in tax-free Rhode Island hounded him in recent days after the Boston Herald broke the story on Friday. Kerry had to emphasize repeatedly that he and his wife, ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz, already pay plenty of taxes, thank you very much.

“We pay enormous taxes to the state of Massachusetts and there is nothing illegal here,” he was quoted as saying by Marketwatch.

“Let’s not get silly here,” he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“Can I get out of here?” he asked, after he was pelted with questions at an event on Monday, according to cable station NECN. “Let’s get this straight. I have said consistently we will pay our taxes, we’ve always paid our taxes, there is not an issue. Period.”

Still, people will make an issue out of such matters, if only for the sheer pleasure of making John Kerry uncomfortable. Boat builders in Massachusetts are even complaining that Kerry chose to build the yacht in New Zealand instead of here in the good ole U.S. I guess Kerry will just have to buy another yacht in Massachusetts and park it in Boston Harbor.