"It was a bulletproof vest." "It was not." Salon readers speculate on the bulge.

By Salon Staff
October 10, 2004 12:03AM (UTC)
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[Read "Bush's Mystery Bulge," by Dave Lindorff.]

If the president did, in fact, resort to being fed lines during the first debate, well, that's just sad. However, I can't say that I'm surprised. That man is kept on a shorter leash than any dog I know. Unless I see a logical explanation for this (and it will take a lot to convince me), I have to assume the worst. So, if anyone's keeping count, add another to the list of the president's lies and cheats. At this point, does one more matter?


-- Nolan Smith

I read Dave Lindorff's piece about Bush's bulge with a great deal of skepticism -- it sounded like just another wild conspiracy theory. Having TiVo'd the debate on NBC, I decided to see for myself. NBC showed Bush from behind eight to 10 times during the course of the debate. To my surprise, not only did the bulge appear, but it appeared in exactly the same shape in each of those shots.

I highly doubt that this was some sort of electronic device. However, it does raise the question: What the heck was that?


-- James Savage

Has anyone considered the possibility that the bulge under his jacket is where the puppet strings attach?

-- Elizabeth Foley

I wish the election would come and go so I could get back the Salon that enticed me to subscribe. I realize that the site has a liberal slant, which is all well and good; I like my news with a healthy dose of political passion.


Since the Democratic Convention, though, you have fallen into a state of partisan-hackship on the level of Sean Hannity or Rolling Stone. Bush wearing a wire during the debate?

Meanwhile, nary a word on the alleged scandal in the U.N. Oil For Food program, not even to rebuke it. Needless to say, if Bush and his cronies had been implicated, y'all would be all over it, no matter how dubious the evidence. I too hope Bush gets defeated next month, but there is no reason to ignore every other corrupt regime in the world simply because criticizing them (or even acknowledging criticism of them) would seemingly run counter to your anti-Republican agenda.


Here's hoping your previously fine magazine returns to form soon.

-- Chad Nicholson

Friends of mine saw the bulge in Bush's jacket and thought the candidates were wearing mikes. The contrast between the treatment of the nonstory about Kerry's supposed contraband pen (with virtually no logical coherence and no implications for anything about Kerry's general capacity) and the complete lack of coverage of a possible Bush wire (a charge which could potentially demonstrate the presdient's incapacity and flagrant rule-breaking) indicates a strong media bias.


When I just tried a Google search for Bush Kerry cheat, I got a raft of stories about Kerry's pen and nothing about Bush's wire. The corroborating evidence on the Bush wire is overwhelming -- it explains major portions of what everyone saw and heard, yet the emperor-has-no-clothes whisper is very faint.

-- Mae Kuykendall

Regarding the controversy over what President Bush was wearing the night of the first debate: The president was wearing a bulletproof vest. The spine of the vest can clearly be seen running down his back as well as the top of it which runs along the upper back and under the arms. Nothing so sinister as a wire to Rove, is it? Sorry to disappoint you folks.


-- Marie Harrington

I read the article with rapt attention; having Baby Bush wired for sound neatly explains his post-911 speaking style.

Whatever the bulge was, it was certainly not a bulletproof vest. Anyone who has worn them, as I have, will attest that both Kevlar and Spectra vests are hot, heavy and bulky. None are manufactured with a "back ridge." Besides the obvious, that wearing a jacket would make Bush look like the stay-puff marshmellow man, he would have been sweating like a pig under the studio lighting.

-- Adam Ludwick


Obviously, the bulge was his battery pack.

Everyone knows the real Bush isn't allowed to speak extemporaneously; they always use the robot Bush.

-- Morgen Salas

So that's what W had stuffed in the crotch of his flight suit!

-- Gwendolyn Holbrow

I have one thing to say about the "mystery bulge" and the possibility that Bush was wired: Stop talking about it. As Bush media director Mark McKinnon's comments indicate, the Bush camp would rather discuss something that sounds like a desperate conspiracy theory concocted by Democrats than real issues.


I realize I'm violating this rule by, well, talking about it, but I'm just hoping everyone who wants Bush gone will shut up about it before the talking heads are allowed to spin this into the dominant story of the week. Focus on the things that matter: The economy, Iraq, Lynne Cheney's role in destroying 300,000 taxpayer-funded booklets on American history, or the really important bulge -- the ballooning deficit.

-- Christopher Waldrop

Before jumping to the same conclusion that every blogger has made, I'd like to point out an equally obvious conclusion. The president was most likely wearing a Kevlar vest. I can't come up with a good picture of the back of the vest, but this seems the most likely possibility.

Frankly, if he had really been wired, he probably would have done better.


-- Jonathan Trachtenberg

Salon Staff

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