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October 04, 2004

Kerry, Bush in hi-tech war of words

By Ross Thomas

Election debates entered a new hi-tech arena Thursday, with both candidates employing sophisticated electronic devices to help them in their verbal spar, halfacanuck can exclusively reveal.

President Bush was in constant contact with advisor Karl Rove via a "completely-in-canal" FM radio earpiece, invisible to the naked eye, admitted Rove yesterday following a storm of controversy in the blogosphere.

"It was a very good idea," said Rove at the press conference, "because George sometimes gets a little confused when speaking, thinking or moving around. It allowed me to prompt him, get him back on track, and I think that helped him get his message across better to the American people."

But the device was not as effective as it could have been, he said, because of the portable radio-jamming equipment Democratic nominee John Kerry employed during the debate.

"When [Kerry] got to the podium and I saw him pull something out of his pocket I was like, 'Uh oh,'" said Rove. "I knew right away what it was."

The jamming device, small enough to fit inside an interior jacket pocket, interfered with the radio transmission between Rove and Bush.

"It wasn't 100 per cent successful," said Kerry advisor John Sasso, "because we had to kinda guess the frequency they were using beforehand, but it did disrupt the transmission on numerous occasions."

Bush's performance is understandable, said debate moderator Jim Lehrer, now that the use of the hi-tech gizmos has been revealed.

"He stuttered quite a bit, stammered, blinked, brayed," said Lehrer this morning in a telephone interview. "He stumbled, murmured, gulped, faltered. In parts he was unusually lucid, and then suddenly he'd lose his train of thought and just gaze around for up to five minutes. This is entirely consistent with an intermittently working radio feed."

About 40 minutes into the debate Bush seemed to address Rove directly when, with plenty of time remaining, Bush stopped mid-sentence and demanded to be allowed to finish.

"Yeah, he sort of let the cat out of the bag there," said a red-faced Rove. "I was a bit annoyed, but we had a talk afterwards and now he understands he mustn't actually talk back to me during the debate. At least, I think he does."

Rove plans to use the earpiece again in the next Bush-Kerry debate on Oct 8, but will employ a modified version in tomorrow night's vice-presidential debate.

"We have a special kind of earpiece for [Vice-President Dick] Cheney," he said in a rare moment of candidness, "which is hooked up to an audio loop of a voice actress impersonating Dick's mother saying, 'I'll wash your mouth out with soap, You kiss me with that mouth?, I'll wash your mouth out with soap,' and so on."

He said tests have shown the recording to be effective in controlling Cheney's "regrettable Tourette's-like outbursts."


At October 5, 2004 at 12:41 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Is Awesome. I'm forwarding it to my people. And don't you dare say it's real, because I'm on to you.

At October 5, 2004 at 9:37 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had my suspicions on the in-the-ear radio and now you've laid them to rest. Good work. Carey would be proud ;)


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