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Bush's Bump

Friday, Nov. 11, 2005 6:04 PM

Photo: Washington Post

You may recall the whispers during the 2004 Presidential Debates when the camera, looking over President Bush's shoulder at moderator Jim Lehrer, seemed to show a mysterious, rectangular bump beneath Mr. Bush's suit jacket. Rapidly, rumors spread that Bush was wearing a transmitter, that he was being coached, and even his frantic, "Let me finish!" at one point during the debate was a comment intended for his unseen handler (supposedly Karl Rove).

The White House simply said that it wasn't a transmitter, and no further proof was offered or allegations made.

Photo: The White House

A recent White House photo, taken during the President's highly-publicized videoconference call with 'the troops' in Iraq, offers another look at the President's back. What appears to be the outline of a bullet-proof vest is visible. (Don't ask me why, specifically, Mr. Bush wears such protection while walking around inside the White House.)

And so, I offer the following explanation for the mysterious bump on Bush's back during the 2004 Debates:

President Bush put his bullet-proof vest on backwards.

Modern protective vests may include the option for a trauma plate - basically a rectangular plate of metal or ceramic that is inserted into a center pocket, providing additional protection for the vital organs.

If one were to don their protective vest backwards, the rigid plate might very well push against the fabric of one's suit jacket. If one has a tendency to slouch and lean on podiums, as Mr. Bush does, it might even be more noticeable.

And if this were the actual cause, the White House's reaction would be much the same - denying that the 'bump' was a transmitter, while not announcing to the world that President Bush donned his ballistic vest the wrong way.

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