Instead, the president focused on the Democrat's sugar-coating of his first-strike pill of prevention: his assurance that his pre-emption had to be one that "passes the global test" to make it legitimate. By ridiculing Kerry's notion that such a surprise attack had to have prior world-public approval, Bush was able to prevent his opponent from out-hawkishing him.
October 4, 2004
William Safire on Kerry's new hawkishness, as seen in the debate. Safire notes that Bush supporters have opted to ignore it: