The “is Bush wired?” story is getting more and more coverage. Salon has a story today. Much has been made of the fact that the debate rules were intended to prevent any pictures of the candidates from the back; however, nobody has mentioned this other curious rule:
Other than Secret Service personnel and the president’s doctor and military aide, each candidate is allowed to have only one pre-designated staff member in the wings or the immediate backstage area.
Now why might Bush need someone in the wings, or “immediate backstage area”?
Lets assume that the story is true — how might it affect tonight’s debate? Would he risk doing it again? Will people be ready to catch him in the act? Can Bush function without prompting? The story adds a whole new level of excitement to the debate.
UPDATE: Well, Bush didn’t seem to have a box on his back this time. Maybe it was under his arm? Mark Liberman doesn’t think that Bush is being prompted — his wild, almost random, repetitions of stock phrases seems to suggest that he’s not.