Just Above Sunset
October 10, 2004 - George Bush's suits from Georges de Paris... And is told what to say by whom?

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Rick, the News Guy in Atlanta send me a note mid-week on the latest rumor about George Bush -


One of my favorite websites [Current Elector Vote Predictor 2004], is very slow loading today, possibly because too many people are visiting it to confirm what they are hearing about Kerry's newly-projected 280-239 lead in electorals over Bush.


But while I was there today, I also noticed an interesting item about the possibility that Bush was wired with a little radio into his ear during the first debate. If indeed he was, and if this was not something else, then having someone feeding him the answers did not seem to do him very much good.


This was not covered in the discussion in these pages of the first debate here and here.  The item is here in SALON.COM


Key excerpts -


Was President Bush literally channeling Karl Rove in his first debate with John Kerry? That's the latest rumor flooding the Internet, unleashed last week in the wake of an image caught by a television camera during the Miami debate. The image shows a large solid object between Bush's shoulder blades as he leans over the lectern and faces moderator Jim Lehrer.


The president is not known to wear a back brace, and it's safe to say he wasn't packing. So was the bulge under his well-tailored jacket a hidden receiver, picking up transmissions from someone offstage feeding the president answers through a hidden earpiece? Did the device explain why the normally ramrod-straight president seemed hunched over during much of the debate?


… Was it possible the bulge had been Photoshopped onto Bush's back by a lone conspiracy buff? It turns out that all of the video of the debate was recorded and sent out by Fox News, the pool broadcaster for the event. Fox sent feeds from multiple cameras to the other networks, which did their own on-air presentations and editing.


To watch the debate again, I ventured to the Web site of the most sober network I could think of: C-SPAN. And sure enough, at minute 23 on the video of the debate, you can clearly see the bulge between the president's shoulder blades.


… So what was it? Jacob McKenna, a spyware expert and the owner of the Spy Store, a high-tech surveillance shop in Spokane, Wash., looked at the Bush image on his computer monitor. "There's certainly something on his back, and it appears to be electronic," he said. McKenna said that, given its shape, the bulge could be the inductor portion of a two-way push-to-talk system. McKenna noted that such a system makes use of a tiny microchip-based earplug radio that is pushed way down into the ear canal, where it is virtually invisible. He also said a weak signal could be scrambled and be undetected by another broadcaster.


Mystery-bulge bloggers argue that the president may have begun using such technology earlier in his term. Because Bush is famously prone to malapropisms and reportedly dyslexic, which could make successful use of a teleprompter problematic, they say the president and his handlers may have turned to a technique often used by television reporters on remote stand-ups. A reporter tapes a story and, while on camera, plays it back into an earpiece, repeating lines just after hearing them, managing to sound spontaneous and error free.


Suggestions that Bush may have using this technique stem from a D-day event in France, when a CNN broadcast appeared to pick up -- and broadcast to surprised viewers -- the sound of another voice seemingly reading Bush his lines, after which Bush repeated them. Danny Schechter, who operates the news site MediaChannel.org, and who has been doing some investigating into the wired-Bush rumors himself, said the Bush campaign has been worried of late about others picking up their radio frequencies -- notably during the Republican Convention on the day of Bush's appearance. "They had a frequency specialist stop me and ask about the frequency of my camera," Schechter said. "The Democrats weren't doing that at their convention."


Of course now we have a website devote to only this topic. 


I do like the idea that it might have happened before, last June, in Normandy.  And these guys get mad when we call the currently appointed leader of Iraq, Allawi, a puppet, our former CIA operative with the bogus medical degree?  Geez.


The implications are clear.  If true, someone in the White House knows Bush is as dumb as a post and likely to embarrass everyone if left to say what he wants.  He’s dangerous.  So you have to write him his lines, and feed them to him carefully.


Likely?  I sure don’t know.  I’ve never met the man.


Even the New York Times is picking up on this. 


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.... First [the White House] said that pictures showing the bulge might have been doctored...


Nope –


...the bulge turned out to be clearly visible in the television footage of the evening...


Well then –


"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...


Don’t you just love mysteries?


Ah, Camille Ricketts of the Knight Ridder Newspapers goes to the source – as here she interviews Georges de Paris, who made the suit worn by Bush.


President Bush's tailor yesterday pooh-poohed an Internet conspiracy theory that a boxy bulge visible between President Bush's shoulder blades during the first debate could have been some kind of prompting device. Georges de Paris, who made the suit worn by Bush, said the bulge was nothing more than a pucker along the jacket's back seam, accentuated when the president crossed his arms and leaned forward.


I have my doubts, as a good suit, well tailored, doesn’t do that.  Even my favorite off the rack Brooks Brothers suit – from an outlet mall - doesn’t do that.  And Georges de Paris is, too, a tailor, one of those guys who says, when you look disappointed, “No, really, that looks good on you.”


Ah well, we shall see of this develops into anything, or just falls away as one more loony conspiracy theory.  The Normandy footage will be unearthed.  And things will blow over, or blow up.  That’s for the coming week.


But there is a REAL story here.


George Bush gets his suits from Georges de Paris?  NO!  The irony is too much.



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....