We already know that the U.S. President doesn't exactly play fair (unloading Harken Energy stock on inside information, artificially deflating the price of baseball stadium land, the 2000 election) so allegations that he has an ear-canal audioprompter telling him what to say should come as no surprise. The website Is Bush Wired? and Dave Lindorff's pieces for Salon and Counterpunch make a convincing case that not only does the little man use the prompter in speeches, but also answering tricky questions in press conferences and even to help him perform (poorly) in his first debate with John Kerry. TV stills have more than once caught the outline of a squarish lump on his back, under his suit coat, and some cable cameras have accidently picked up audio feeds from his unseen handlers. It would be great if this became a campaign issue but it's doubtful given how much the press loves him. If he gets a second term (no! no!) we will somehow have to come to terms with the fact that he's our first Bionic President.

UPDATE: Unbelievably, the New York Times covers this (" The Mystery of the Bulge in the Jacket"). I guess once Salon was on board, it became OK. And the reporter is Elizabeth Bumiller, who generally writes love letters to Bush.

UPDATE 2: Dave says George Stephanopolous mentioned it on the Sunday talk shows but just treated it as a joke. As the Daily Howler would say, "once again your media is clowning."

UPDATE 3: This Bush interpreter has heard the President speak perfectly without notes on subjects of great complexity, leading the interpreter to believe he's wired. But what works in a speech context could be a liability in the debate context--listening to two people at once is hard.

- tom moody 10-08-2004 9:50 pm

"let me finish"

- bill 10-09-2004 3:57 am

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