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October 16, 2004
More Battle of the Bulge

Naturally this whole thing about the bulge in Bush's back during the first debate (see isbushwired.com for all the details), is being presented as a wild conspiracy theory. Naturally this view of the debate is being promoted by no one more than the Bush campaign.

This is all quite natural.

The big question, though, is what if it's true? Is it really hard for us to believe that political campaigns -- particularly the Bush campaign -- would stoop to wiring the president for sound? It's not even slightly hard for me to believe.

As evidence mounts about this whole thing, though, it's never really left the realm of conspiracy theory.

The evidence:
-- There is clearly something on his back. Suits don't bunch in rectangles. No one has disputed this, including the Bush campaign. They haven't offered any explanation as to what the bulge in his back might be, they've just ridiculed the mere mention of the issue, a very effective tactic.
-- During the debate, Bush said, "let me finish" when no one interrupted him. I've seen the video of this, and it's really weird. His podium light is green, so no one was telling him his time was up. You can hear, but not see, the clip here. (If anyone has the video, please let me know.)
Here's what happens: Bush goes from one oft-repeated RNC talking point -- that Kerry is a flip-flopper -- to fumbling and mumbling for a second, and then he says "let me finish" to no one, and then he goes directly into another precisely worded talking point, "The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at," without a stumble.
-- The Memorandum of Understanding between the campaigns as to the format of the debates includes a section (sec 9, paragraph a, subparagraph vi) which specifically forbids camera shots of the candidates from the back. Bush's negotiator James Baker III reportedly demanded this provision (which the networks refused to comply with, otherwise we wouldn't have these images of the bulge at all.)

Anyway, this probably will never be proved, and the Bush campaign will likely be successful in keeping the issue in the realm of whacko theories.

I'm becoming more convinced, I don't care what kind of theory they call it.

In the end, though, what does it add to my understanding of George W. Bush? Nothing. He's a liar and a cheat and he'll do anything to stay in power. I already knew that.


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