While watching a re-broadcast of the debate, my ladyfriend noted something odd: Bush seemed to have a wire, or an odd protrusion of some sort, running down his back.
Apparently, Fearless Leader used an earpiece during the confrontation. This site
presents a persuasive audio demonstration.
At one point, Bush said: "And that's not how a commander-in-chief acts..." Then he stumbled over himself, sputtering incomprehensible sounds. Then, in an annnoyed tone, he snarled: "Now let me finish!"
Two points about that "Now let me finish!": 1. He seems genuinely irritated, as though someone had just interrupted him. 2. In fact, no-one had
Was he addressing Jim Lehrer? No, because the odd interjection came long before the flashing lights warned that his 90 seconds were up. Neither Lehrer nor Kerry had attempted to jump in. Bush's expression of irritation appears to have been directed at someone speaking to him, someone unheard by anyone else in the room.
This theory goes a long ways toward explaining the president's consistently odd speech patterns -- the cavernous pauses punctuating sharp volleys of sound.
It should be noted that this is not the first time sharp observers have found reason to accuse Bush of using an earpiece, even though he is not (so far as I know) hearing impaired. For example, here we have this posting
from a left-wing blog, published last June:
I'm wondering if any one else caught this, President Bush met with French president Jacques Chirac around the second of June. Both men were in France at podiums in front of a large press core. Bush had an earpiece in, I thought nothing of this since Bush has not yet mastered English, him knowing any French is a long shot. Soon after turning on CNN, I noticed that some one else was carefully dictating Mr. Bush's exact words before he actually said them. At first I thought this simply must be a tech problem, like an echo of some sort, but that was not the case. I could distinctly discern that these were two separate voices.
The same site offers this guest comment:
What was the square-looking bulge tonight underneath the back of Bush's jacket? It looked like the outline of a wireless receiver. His odd eye movements and unnatural pauses at points also suggested that he was getting prompts through an earpiece (not that it helped him much tonight.)
See also this piece
, which offers a convincing argument that Bush's eyes do not track the teleprompter. (And does anyone really believe he can memorize a speech?)
Even more amusing is this piece
(you'll have to scroll down to the April 16 post) which offers further proof that Bush, when speaking in public, is also having a private dialogue with an unseen handler:
My Partner chirped up, "He sounds like he has an ear-piece in and is waiting for someone to tell him what to say."
And he broke the magic spell.
At one point, George said: "I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference..." "But it hasn't yet." And it suddenly dawned on me that I agreed; and after watching the video a few times, I find it hard to doubt. An unprepared question and a suddenly silent Humbug in George's ear.
Each time I've watched the tape, I still laugh aloud at what seems either an idiot's Freudian Slip, or a Fraud's having a laugh, believing that his charade is a wild success....
Details: It appears, from the video, that the earpiece was an insert, and placed in the canal of his right ear. Note how he favours the left ear when listening to the claquer-press's implanted questions.
A number of other observers have speculated about the use of an earpiece. The theory has one problem: No earpiece is visible -- at least, I have yet to spot one. The odd jacket bulge, however, has been quite obvious.
So what is going on?
from a 2002 edition of Science World
offers a clue:
Wouldn't it be great to have a cell phone invisible to everyone but you? Well, with this tiny tooth-phone implant you need only start listening to pick up a call--the ultimate hands-free phone.
Last summer, two researchers at the Royal College of Art in London invented the "molar mobile"--the world's first tooth phone. Here's how it works: A tiny wireless receiver embedded in your back molar picks up radiowaves, a form of electromagnetic energy that pulses invisibly through space and matter. A magnet then converts the incoming signals into sound waves, which vibrate painlessly from the tooth up the jawbone to your inner ear. "Your jaw carries sound waves on a molecular level," explains inventor James Auger.
Let us posit that our president has made use of such a device. The larger radio attached to his back receives the transmission, which is then relayed to the "tooth phone."
Alternatively, Bush could be using a cochlear implant. These systems use both an interior and an exterior unit. The exterior device could function as an FM receiver, which transmits a signal via the skin to the implanted device. Does that sound a tad X-Filish? In fact, this technology is already in common usage -- see, for example, here
How can we acquire proof? Simple. Someone close to the scene of the next debate has to find out the frequency Bush is using. Once again, a simple tape recorder can bring down a president.