Even the New York Times admits that the first round of Campaign ’04 went to George Bush:
Across the weekend, the Kerry campaign debated how Mr. Kerry should respond [to Bush’s attack on his new position on Iraq]. “There were a lot of ideas,” said one official, “from silence, to throwing the question back in the president’s face.”
But the decision, in the end, was Mr. Kerry’s. He chose to take the bait on Monday at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Asked by a reporter, he said he would have voted for the resolution – even in the absence of evidence of weapons of mass destruction – before adding his usual explanation that he would have subsequently handled everything leading up to the war differently.
Mr. Bush, sensing he had ensnared Mr. Kerry, stuck in the knife on Tuesday, telling a rally in Panama City, Fla., that “he now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq.” The Kerry camp says that interpretation of Mr. Kerry’s words completely distorted the difference between a vote to authorize war and a decision to commit troops to the battlefield.
Mr. Kerry’s answer is being second-guessed among his supporters, some of whom argued that he should have been more wary of the trap.
Read the whole thing.