"Wrong" was the key word in last night's debate.
President Bush threw Kerry's phrase "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place" in Kerry's face six times. Bush was intent on saying that this recent Kerry campaign mantra is the wrong message for a President to send to the troops and to the world. This was, in fact, Bush's most prominent point, and he, characteristically, stayed doggedly on message throughout the night. Harping on Kerry's recent, heavyhanded anti-war message, rather than on the usual "Kerry's a flip-flopper" was an effective strategy.
At one point, Kerry came out with a line I suspect was preplanned: "I've had one position, one consistent position: that Saddam Hussein was a threat, there was a right way to disarm him and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way."
"Wrong way"? Yes, I remember when "wrong way" was Kerry's catchphrase, but for most people focusing on the debate last night, what would be echoing in our heads is "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place," and that is far different from merely the "wrong way," the phrase Kerry uses to explain his various conflicting votes and statements about the war. "Wrong way" is the defense against the inconsistency charge, but Kerry's own words "wrong war, wrong time, wrong place" destroy the sense of the old "wrong way" explanation.