"His Master's Voice... Bush's Mystery Bulge"

"His Master's Voice...

Bush's Mystery Bulge"

The Bush administration insisted on a condition that no cameras be
placed behind the candidates. An official for the Commission on
Presidential Debates, which set up the lecterns and microphones on
the Miami stage, said the condition was indeed real, the result of
negotiations by both campaigns. Yet that didn't stop Fox from setting
up cameras behind Bush and Kerry. The official said that "microphones
were mounted on lecterns, and the commission put no electronic
devices on the president or Senator Kerry." When asked about the
bulge on Bush's back, the official said, "I don't know what that

So what was it? Jacob McKenna, a spyware expert and the owner of the
Spy Store, a high-tech surveillance shop in Spokane, Washington,
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."

Repeated calls to the White House and the Bush national campaign
office over a period of three days, inquiring about what the
president may have been wearing on his back during the debate, and
whether he had used an audio device at other events, went unreturned.

So far the Kerry campaign is staying clear of this story. When called
for a comment, a press officer at the Democratic National Committee
claimed on Tuesday that it was "the first time" they'd ever heard of
the issue. A spokeswoman at the press office of Kerry headquarters
refused to permit me to talk with anyone in the campaign's research
office. Several other requests for comment to the Kerry campaign's
press office went unanswered.