Careful not to question the sincerity of Mr. Bush's faith or to criticize the mobilization of conservative religious forces on his behalf, Mr. Kerry nonetheless suggested his opponent's campaign had gone over the line with the way it frames some issues.
"I think you have to draw that line, so the answer is yes, they reached beyond that line, and in my judgment they're trying to exploit certain issues," he said. "The president and I have the same position, fundamentally, on gay marriage. We do. Same position. But they're out there misleading people and exploiting it."
Isn't the gay marriage issue also exploited, in different quarters, by Kerry supporters who--if the positions really are the same--also mislead people?
The NYT piece is also interesting for a quote by Kerry in what the Times calls "the left-leaning Catholic tradition of helping the poor and criticizing the war":
"If you look at Catholic teaching, ... it teaches about the environment, our responsibilities to the next generation. It teaches about poverty, our responsibility to the poor. It teaches about fairness. It teaches about peace and brotherhood and a whole series of things which I think this administration is failing on."
How different the campaign would feel if Kerry openly embraced a deeply principled, committed dedication to helping the poor. It's considered such a political liability to be a liberal, that the liberalism that does appear is desiccated and devoid of passion.
UPDATE: Both Instapundit and Kausfiles link to the Times article via this blog (thanks!) and call for Andrew Sullivan to pay attention to it [the article, not this blog], which he does here:
I have never trusted Kerry on gay civil rights, still don't, and wrote a piece earlier this year for the Advocate, warning gay voters not to trust him. So, yes, Mickey, I am aware of his slippery, unprincipled and vacuous stand on civil rights for gay couples. (This, of course, is indistinguishable from his slippery, unprincipled and vacuous stand on almost every other issue as well).
But Sullivan's for Kerry, remember. To be fair to Sullivan, let me acknowledge that he goes on to talk about a key difference between Kerry and Bush: Bush has spoken in support of amending the U.S. Constitution with respect to gay marriage. It's fine to make that distinction, but if you want to rely on that, how can you read Kerry's statement above as anything but shameless opportunism?