. . . Saturday October 9, 2004

The Battle of the Bulge

So why would anyone still be focused on the first presidential debate? Well, like many stories of this campaign season, a nugget has worked its way from the blogosphere to the internet rags to the mainstream press.

The question this time around: What was that bulge in between the President’s shoulder blades during last week’s showdown?

The first take offered by some bloggers was that the Prez was wearing a transmitter that piped instructions into his ear. That seems unlikely. First, who would risk a career on such an attempt? Second, he was terrible throughout and only hurt his chances of success in this election. Who do the conspiracists suppose was on the other end of the wire, Al Gore?

But still…

It does look pretty weird. This Bush team explanation doesn’t quite satisfy:

“It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric.”

I don’t pretend to have any insight about what gives when it comes to this story. But it is curious. After a prolonged and diligent search across crime thrillers, historical literature, novels, political biographies, FBI sting reports, and mafia movies, I have found only one possible explanation. It emerged as I re-read these lines from a Woody Allen short story called Remembering Needleman.

“I can still see him with his crumpled suit and grey sweater. Preoccupied with weighty matters he frequently would forget to remove the coat hanger from his jacket while he wore it.”

Concentration is important!