Historic Mistake:

The most-remembered moment from the final presidential debate at Arizona State on October 13 came when host Bob Schieffer of CBS News asked the candidates if they believed homosexuality was a choice. President Bush answered, honestly, “I don’t know.”

But John Kerry flouted good manners and American political tradition by making an issue of an opponent’s family member, invoking the Vice President’s daughter. “And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was, she’s being who she was born as,” he said. The presumptuous remark was soon correctly perceived as a calculated campaign stratagem, especially when Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill announced that Cheney’s daughter was “fair game” and would-be Second Lady Elizabeth Edwards charged that incumbent Second Lady Lynne Cheney’s passionate objection to Kerry’s crude statement “indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter’s sexual preferences.”