Kerry's "botched" joke was aimed right at the audience he knew was there. The audience, which laughed, obviously didn't think it was botched. Two accounts deepen our understanding of the match between the room (as comedians call the nature of an audience) and the material.
From the American Spectator's Prowler, (hat tip: Dennis Sevakis)
"The reason they had the joke in there was because of the crowd," the staffer says. "We'd told the office that there would be lots of MoveOn.org types, lots of young people at the event, so they gave him material to play to what we consider to be the important base of the party for next week. Kerry was playing to the crowd, giving them what the Democrats think they want to hear."
From Rich Lowry, writing in the New York Post,
Markos Moulitsas, the leader of the left—wing blogosphere from his perch at Daily Kos, pronounced himself much pleased: "Kerry responded perfectly." It was the blogosphere that encouraged Kerry to believe that what cost him the election in 2004 was that he hadn't denounced his detractors angrily enough.
Ed Lasky 11 2 06