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October 10, 2004

Bush on a Wire

(Yes, it’s Politics Week, here at Musings. Please have patience with us while we vent.)

A controversy has erupted as to whether Bush was wearing a wire during the first Presidential Debate, last Thursday., the New York Times and the Washington Post have weighed in on the subject of the suspicious-looking rectangular bulge in his jacket, clearly visible on the CSPAN video feed of the debate.

Personally, I have no idea whether he was or was not wearing a wire that night. The White House’s carefully-worded non-denial denial certainly hasn’t helped clarify the matter. What I do know is this: Karl Rove would be crazy to allow Bush out in public without a wire.

After his incoherent debacle last Thursday, and his slightly less embarrassing performance Friday night, I am getting peeved. I want to know what Karl Rove has planned for the next four years, and I’m not going to stand for any more “equipment failures.”

Posted by distler at October 10, 2004 12:01 AM

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Re: Bush on a Wire

It’s a bra. It has to be. Look at the straps. And it even has a second little bump right where the strap adjusters are! The line down the back is just the crease in his jacket. Everything fits perfectly.

Posted by: dolphinling on October 10, 2004 11:03 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Bush on a Wire

It’s suspenders, suspenders to hold up the kevlar ass-cover that Republican presidents have worn since Nixon got busted.

Posted by: Rick Thomas on October 10, 2004 11:54 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Bush on a Wire


It’s a little bit more reasonable. Jacques, are you serious about these comments? I am just amazed that you would believe that they would give him this large box under his jacket. Do you think that there exist no smaller gadgets that could do it? Why would they attach it to the middle of his back? And so on. I think that these conspiratory theories are pretty stupid.

Posted by: Lubos Motl on October 10, 2004 8:43 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Tin Foil Hat

I don’t know what it is, but it’s not body armour, and it’s not a mere case of bad tailoring. (That’s a $3000 custom-tailored suit that he’s wearing. Why there would be a rectangular lump, with a wire-shaped crease leading up over his right shoulder blade, whenever he hunches over is beyond me.)

The feature of these devices is that they consist of a radio tranceiver, connected by wire to an induction coil which drives tiny in-ear-canal speaker. The coil has a transmission radius of only a few inches, and is generally looped around the user’s neck.

You, surely, could place the tranceiver other places less awkward than strapped between the user’s shoulder blades. But you also don’t want the wire from the induction coil to the tranceiver to be visible, which narrows the possibilities.

Anyway, my point is not that he was wearing one of these devices, but that he should have been wearing one of these devices. He was horrible in the first debate and merely very bad in the second.

I just hope he gets the damned radio working right for Wednesday night, so we can hear what Karl Rove has to say on domestic policy.

Posted by: Jacques Distler on October 10, 2004 9:21 PM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: Tin Foil Hat

Dear Jacques,

I think that the conclusion is just the opposite. If he were wearing the device in the first debate, it proves that he should NOT wear it, because if he wore it, then it was the most likely reason why Bush was confused in that debate.

Bush was more convincing in the second debate.

I wonder why the evidence is focusing on that single picture. It seemed that there were many people around who should have seen the bulge for 90 minutes or so. What do these witnesses say?


Posted by: Lubos Motl on October 11, 2004 10:10 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Tin Foil Hat

I wonder why the evidence is focusing on that single picture.

It’s not a single picture. The link above has a series of 28 pictures from the CSPAN video feed (complete with timestamps) which appear to show the same lump. Some are more distinct than others, but they seem consistent.

What do these witnesses say?

Good question. Perhaps we’ll hear, yet. But, to be fair to them, the audience was further away from the candidates than the TV cameras, and they were seated in front of the candidates, rather than behind them.

Bush was more convincing in the second debate.

Some people claim to see similar bulges in Wire Service photos from the second debate. I did not find the pictures convincing. Perhaps he wasn’t wearing one in the second debate, or perhaps it was better concealed. Or perhaps this is all a case of bad tailoring.

Bush is generally a good debater (see his debate with Ann Richards for the Texas Governorship or his 2000 debates with Gore). His performance, so far, has been pretty awful. Maybe because this is the first time he’s had a record to defend …

Posted by: Jacques Distler on October 11, 2004 10:57 AM | Permalink | PGP Sig | Reply to this

Re: Bush on a Wire

There are several reasons Bush was wearing a box-like device beneath his jacket. Let’s face facts: They didn’t even try to hide it. Perhaps they WANTED people to see it.

Oh, he may have been receiving answers from Rove or Mommy Bush or someone similar. It could be. But I doubt it. My guess is that it’s all part of some deeper subterfuge.

The debates were weeks ago. They want us to think about the past. The truth is it’s the present, just days after the election and we are talking about hether Bush wore a wire way back when. Their opinion is big deal if he did! No one ever said he couldn’t. And they’ve denied it with an implausible excuse (“my shirt had a pucker in it”).

The LAST thing Rove wants the American public to think about what happened in the election. They don’t want to have any thought-provoking analysis on how they obtained those votes that put them over the top.

And even if the election was zestfully clean (which I doubt) they also don’t want Americans to think about the NEXT FOUR YEARS and everything that will come down after the honeymoon ends.

Right now our nation is BROKE. The Republicans are going to have to increase our debt ceiling to get through the year. The fighting rages in Falluja. And the right-wingers have come down against gay rights, stem-cell research and personal freedom and all for prayer in schools, reversing Roe v. Wade.

Plus Syria and Iran are sitting there like two big apples on a tree, waiting to be plucked.

Bush’s wire makes for interesting blogging but, believe me, it will soon be the least of our worries.

Posted by: stephen smith on November 10, 2004 1:23 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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