While many were never going to look past my 2002 vote no matter what I did or said, I should have stated my regret sooner and in the plainest, most direct language possible. I’d gone most of the way there by saying I regretted the way President Bush used his authority and by saying that if we knew then what we later learned, there wouldn’t have been a vote. But I held out against using the word mistake. It wasn’t because of political expediency. After all, primary voters and the press were clamoring for me to say that word. When I voted to authorize force in 2002, I said that is was “probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make.” I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.