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.