In a pre-election week punctuated by acts of contrition, none was sorrier than John Kerry's mea culpa for seeming to instruct a group of college students to do their homework lest they "end up in Iraq." Having single-handedly halted Democratic momentum, Kerry said, "I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted." President Bush, who has lately donned a hair shirt over piddling aspects of his handling of the war, nevertheless vowed never to fire Rumsfeld or Cheney. Congressman Charles Rangel said he was sorry for calling the veep a "son of a bitch," but showed no pangs of conscience for observing that Cheney hadn't "shot anyone in the face lately." Remorseless campaigner Andrew Cuomo showed he had no hard feelings toward ex-rival Mark Green by accepting a $50,000 donation from Green's developer brother, Stephen, before scolding current opponent Jeanine Pirro's "shameful" paying of her driver $148,000 in county-funded overtime.
Two Harlem cops who accused the normally other-cheek-turning Reverend Calvin Butts of having "an attitude" before writing him a $115 ticket surely regretted their actions after Butts demanded — and received — an abject apology from Mayor Bloomberg. The Air Force cut a $500,000 check to a New Jersey school to make amends for an F-16's strafing their building with 27 rounds of ammo. The Knicks, coming off a truly lamentable season, briefly enjoyed undefeated status after a triple-overtime opener win. Mets reliever Guillermo Mota, who'd been looking at a big fat raise, was slapped with a 50-game suspension for steroid use ("I truly regret what I did and hope that you can forgive me," he said).
Cabernet hangovers became un peu less regrettable when a Harvard study indicated that red wine can offset the ill effects of fatty foods. Webster Hall had second thoughts about scheduling a Kevin Federline show, while the Rolling Stones felt bad about canceling two sold-out local dates thanks to Mick Jagger's sore throat, then unapologetically played Bill Clinton's 60th-birthday bash at the Beacon. "I feel sorry for [him]," a gleeful Jagger told the crowd. "Kennedy had Marilyn Monroe at his birthday party."
— Mark Adams