Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Great Unfolding

A reader at LittleGreenFootballs has just done the world a service by enhancing a portion of the video footage showing John Kerry removing a piece of paper from his coat pocket, placing it on the lecturn and unfolding it while looking at the crowd and smiling. The motion into his coat pocket could have been seen by the crowd, but Kerry cleverly places his hands on the lecturn, out of the view of the audience and the TV cameras that would broadcast the debate, and unfolds the paper while looking at the crowd. A magicians trick: make the audience look where you want them to look while you perform the trick. In this case Kerry was smiling and nodding his head. People would naturally look at his face, not his hands, allowing him to use the front of the lecturn to hide his hands and the paper while he unfolded it.

Watch the video here.

It is undeniable that Kerry removes something from his jacket and places it on the lecturn, in violation of the rules agreed upon by both campaigns in Section 5, pages 4-5 of the "Memo of Understanding":

"No props, notes, charts, diagrams, or other writings or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by either candidate.... Each candidate must submit to the staff of the Commission prior to the debate all such paper and any pens or pencils with which a candidate may wish to take notes during the debate, and the staff or commission will place such paper, pens and pencils on the podium..."

So regardless of what Kerry took out his coat he broke the rules. But if he removes a piece of paper from his jacket, the implication is that he had a cheat sheet. In a few days Kerry will be put in the situation of explaining what he took out of his pocket and why he broke the rules of engagement.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.