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News :: Environment
Was President Bush Playing “What’s My Line?” at the Miami Debate?
05 Oct 2004
Evidence is growing that President Bush wasn’t alone up there on the podium during his first debate with John Kerry. Was he getting help from his “brain” offstage? So far, Bush and the White House are refusing to explain what was under the president’s jacket that night.
If a picture is worth 1000 words, it will be interesting to see the words that the Bush campaign and the White House come up with to explain the one circulating on the Internet now . This image (available at, captured by television cameras during the first presidential debate in Miami last week, clearly shows a large solid object situated between President Bush's shoulder blades as he's leaning over the lecturn and facing moderator Jim Lehrer.

The president is not known to wear a back brace, and it's not the location for a pistol, if the president is "packing". It would, however, be a natural spot to locate a hidden receiver to pick up transmissions from someone offstage who might have been feeding the president answers through a hidden earpiece (the device, whatever it is, might not have even shown up, had the normally ramrod-straight president not uncharacteristically hunched over so much during the debate).

This speculation that the president may have been getting help with his answers is being fed by a number of other bits of evidence. A securities employee with a Taiwan-based brokerage house recalls that while watching the international CNN coverage of Bush's visit to the Pope last summer, he witnessed an incident in which crossed wires in that broadcast led to viewers like himself hearing someone clearly feeding lines to the president, who was then repeating them. The error was quickly caught and corrected by CNN, so that only the president's voice could be heard.

Suspicion that the president may have been "channeling" the voice of someone backstage in Miami is heightened by some of his bizarre comments and behavior during that event.

Recall the peculiar interjection "Now let me finish!" which Bush blurted out angrily during the recent debate with John Kerry? Coming midway through a 90-second answer, well before he would have received any warning light, it attracted the attention of commentators and observers, because no one had interrupted him.

No one we in the audience could hear, that is.

A hidden helper coming through a hearing device would also explain uncomfortably long silences which occurred at odd points in the president's answers, during which he wore an odd expression--not his usual frown or grimace--that looked just as if he were listening carefully to some instructions.

As I noted yesterday, we shouldn't be surprised if a president is getting fed his lines. The supposedly "great communicator" Ronald Reagan used to be provided by his staff (and sometimes his wife) with cue cards for every occasion. He even had cards that reminded him to say "Good Afternoon" when meeting a head of state. And most presidents have their speeches written for them by skilled staffwriters.

That said, getting tips during a debate would break all the rules and be a gross insult to the voting public. A campaign debate is supposed to be a kind of contest of wits between the competing candidates.

So far the Kerry campaign is staying clear of this potentially explosive story. A press officer at the Democratic National Committee claimed--improbably--that it was "the first time" they’d ever heard of the issue when called on Tuesday for comment, while a spokeswoman at the press office of Kerry headquarters refused to permit this reporter to talk with anyone in the campaign's research office.

Questions put to the White House and the Bush national campaign press office, seeking an explanation for the obvious presence during the debate of some large object on the president's back underneath his jacket, went unanswered.

For the rest of this column, and photographic evidence of Bush’s apparent wire, please go (at no charge) to This Can't Be Happening! .
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