Tony Abbott made political trouble for himself yesterday - and ran into other trouble, which he did not deserve but badly mishandled.
It was always going to be risky for the Opposition Leader to propose a program of cuts as an alternative to the government's flood levy. It's one thing to assert that there's fat to be found, but quite another to suggest specific programs that should be slashed.
Once Abbott had committed himself to producing cuts, however, he had to go through with it. It turned out to be a messy process, which has seen a row between the Opposition Leader and his deputy and opened the Coalition to criticism on content.
Abbott's determination to take hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign aid was provocative, and his targeting of Australian aid to Indonesian schools, which was originally an Alexander Downer initiative, was the worst of choices.
Indonesia is a vital neighbour, and the program had a counter-terrorism dimension.
In specifying cuts, Abbott has put lead in his saddle bag.
But he shouldn't carry blame for his ''shit happens'' remark when discussing the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan in a visit there last year.
The context of the remark was controversy about whether Australian forces involved in the incident in which the soldier died were properly resourced.
Abbott accepted the assurance of the commanders on the ground, backed by a demonstration of the weaponry, that the supplies had been appropriate. What he was saying, in his use of the vernacular, was that the soldier's death was an unavoidable tragedy.
Abbott was obviously furious at Channel Seven for the way the footage was interpreted and deeply worried about how it would come across.
But his long silences - which made for riveting television - were a dreadful look.
He tried to stem the damage by quickly contacting the soldier's widow. But the strong reaction by the dead man's father, combined with Abbott's confrontation with Seven's Mark Riley, will ensure the story exacts its toll.
Michelle Grattan is Age political editor.