In RealClearPolitics, Tom Bevan says:
For my money, this exchange was the most damning part of the entire debate
'KERRY: Well, you know, when I talked about the $87 billion, I made a
mistake in how I talk about the war. But the president made a mistake in
invading Iraq. Which is worse?
'I believe that when you know something's going wrong, you make it right.
That's what I learned in Vietnam. When I came back from that war I saw that it
was wrong. Some people don't like the fact that I stood up to say no, but I did.
And that's what I did with that vote. And I'm going to lead those troops to
'LEHRER: All right, new question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry.
'Speaking of Vietnam, you spoke to Congress in 1971, after you came back
from Vietnam, and you said, quote, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to
die for a mistake?"
'LEHRER: Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?
'KERRY: No, and they don't have to, providing we have the leadership that we
put -- that I'm offering.'
You do not have to have a PhD in logic to notice the egregious
contradiction here. If your view is that invading Iraq was a mistake and U.S.
soldiers are dying in Iraq (which they are) then our brave troops are, in fact,
dying for a mistake.
I remember this exchange. I was listening on the radio, so I can't comment on the all-important visual impact, but it was the one moment when Kerry sounded most like the Kerry we have heard over the past 6 months. One again, I was trying hard to understand what he was saying and, partisan feelings aside, could not make sense of it.
Whether this makes any impact on the race remains to be seen. I am pretty confident that the folks at places like CNN and the New York Times will be working the "Kerry is on a comeback" angle pretty hard for the next week or so. Things will probably get more nerve-wracking now than they needed to be, but that's politics.