Either it was a bulletproof vest, or "nothing"


Mark Follman
November 13, 2004 1:54AM (UTC)

Yeah, we know. Some of you are probably thinking, "Christ, not the bulge thing again. That is so election 2004." But just as there is a powerful and necessary call to further investigate whether widespread election fraud occured this year, we're still hearing from readers who want to get to the bottom of the mysterious little lump that appeared under President Bush's suit jacket during the debates.

So we thought we'd point out one intriguing discrepancy that's recently come to our attention (hat tip to War Room reader G.M. of Modesto).

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On Nov. 4 we told you about a report in The Hill claiming to have the final word on the source of the Bush bulge:

"Sources in the Secret Service told The Hill that Bush was wearing a bulletproof vest, as he does most of the time when appearing in public. The president's handlers did not want to admit as much during the campaign, for fear of disclosing information related to his personal security while he was on the campaign trail."

But on Nov. 7, a report from the Associated Press had top Bush adviser Karl Rove floating a slightly different explanation:

"On one sideline row during the campaign, Rove said the president's tailor was devastated about a controversy over a box-shaped bulge in Bush's back that television cameras captured during the first debate. ... 'Nothing was under his jacket,' Rove said. 'The poor tailor ... he's an awfully nice fellow, he's a rather flamboyant dude,' Rove said. 'I'm not going to use his name, but he's just -- he's horrified. And, you know, it's -- there was nothing there.'"

So which is it, fellas? (And did Rove really call the White House tailor "a rather flamboyant dude"? Did the bulge somehow get folded into his anti-gay-marriage strategy?)


Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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