VP Cheney's quiet response to the Edwards jab during the debate was righteous shock and a very deft in-the-moment rope-a-dope on Cheney's part. Cheney's classy move to accept the "kind remarks" was a false-flag, and Kerry/Edwards took it and ran.
Does this make Cheney as guilty as Kerry/Edwards of using is daughter Mary for political gain? No; but is was a brilliant move nonetheless. And I do think it was a move... a move to expose Kerry/Edwards as the bottom-feeders they have proved themselves to be.
The reason this story has legs is because is goes to the central character of these men and their surragates. I, too, saw the hesitation by Kerry when he made that infamous remark. It seemed as though he didn't want to say it - like he was coming through on a dare or something.
It doesn't matter, though. He did it. And by doing so, Cheney's trap laid a week before was sprung tighter than -- well I can't think of anything right now... but something really tight!
I think this episode shows us a little more about Cheney/Bush, too. They had the maturity, patience, and right-ness to get themselves out of the way and allow these Kerry/Edwards guys set themselves up and knock themselves out.