October 9th, 2004


The Mystery of the Bulge in the Jacket

Updated: 10:15 AM EDT

The White House was flooded with calls about the bulge between President Bush's shoulder blades.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 - What was that bulge in the back of President Bush's suit jacket at the presidential debate in Miami last week?

According to rumors racing across the Internet this week, the rectangular bulge visible between Mr. Bush's shoulder blades was a radio receiver, getting answers from an offstage counselor into a hidden presidential earpiece. The prime suspect was Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's powerful political adviser.

When the online magazine Salon published an article about the rumors on Friday, the speculation reached such a pitch that White House and campaign officials were inundated with calls.

First they said that pictures showing the bulge might have been doctored. But then, when the bulge turned out to be clearly visible in the television footage of the evening, they offered a different explanation.

"There was nothing under his suit jacket," said Nicolle Devenish, a campaign spokeswoman.

"It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric."

Ms. Devenish could not say why the "rumpling" was rectangular.

Nor was the bulge from a bulletproof vest, according to campaign and White House officials; they said Mr. Bush was not wearing one.

What do you think the bulge is?

A radio transmitter so that Bush could do better in the debate
Just a rumpling of his suit, he really shouldn't buy suits off the rack
A parasitic alien creature that is mind controlling Bush and is determined to bring our world into ruin
There is no bulge. Under the Bush presidency I've learned to believe anything so that I can support Bush
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2004 Presidential Debate 2

While there was a new system in place to try to stop the candidates from breaking the rules, they found a loophole. An extra minute of debate (30 seconds per candidate) was allowed only under the discretion of the moderator. However Bush just started with his extra 30 seconds sometimes without the permission (and once over the explicit objection) of the moderator. Then Kerry had no choice but to also break this rule if Bush wasn't going to honor it. They need a buzzer system to stop this from happening.

All questions were screened supposedly by the moderator. However, since Charles Gibson (the moderator) didn't seem as commanding as Jim Lehrer (moderator of the first presidential debate) or Gwen Ifill (the moderator in the vice-presidential debate), I wonder how influenced he was.

This debate wasn't a clear win for Kerry. Kerry needs to get more quotable sound bites and be more personable for him to do better. While both mislead, Bush clearly seemed to be a bit more misleading.

Kerry seemed to be on the defensive more, which is a bad sign. This debate was more or less a draw. Kerry was more factual, but Bush had more of a human touch.

I'd like to see them get off the topic of the Iraq War and Defense. These topics have dominated the first 3 debates already. There is only one more debate on Wednesday that is supposed to focus on domestic issues. However I would be surprised if Iraq and Defense issues did not creep into this debate too. It's an easy tie in because they can be talking about the economy and then say how much they spent on defense and the war.

Deficit 101 instructionCollapse )