The rest of the media gathered here in St. Louis may be focused like the proverbial laser beam on the latest job numbers -- the New York Times says jobs are topic "A, B and C" tonight -- but we're determined to get to the bottom of the Bush bulge.
The latest clarification, explanation or evasion -- depending on your perspective on all this --- comes from White House Chief of Staff Andy Card. We caught up with him in spin alley here, and we asked him whether Bush was wearing a wire at the last debate.
"If he was, I didn't know about it," Card said. "I have no reason to believe he was wearing a listening device at all." So what was that tell-tale lump under Bush's suit coat? "I don't even know what you're talking about. Maybe people didn't have very good eyesight." Was the president wearing a bullet-proof vest? "No, he was not, not to my knowledge." Some are speculating that he was wearing some kind of medical device, like a portable IV machine. How about that? "Not to my knowledge."
Card, the pro that he is, quickly spun the conversation to Bush-Cheney talking points. The president is "a regular guy," he said. "Maybe his suit had a little lump in it or something. I'll tell you, he was dressed for the opportunity to talk to the American people, and I am not aware of anything that was extra-ordinary in what he was wearing."