Second Thots

Sometimes one has to step back, take pause, and have some "second thots"

Monday, October 04, 2004


Was it a pen?

The latest starts with this piece published in today's New York Post. Here's the relevant excerpt:

Many blogs offered links to the "Pocket-gate" footage. One, INDC Journal, even posted frame-by-frame stills purporting to show Kerry pulling out a notecard and placing it onto the podium.

But the mystery was solved when The Post reviewed a Fox News Channel feed from Thursday's debate: Kerry pulled out . . . a black pen.

Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade remained angry at the bloggers' guilt-by-insinuation.

"The right-wing attack machine will say anything to steal a debate do-over," he said. "We plead guilty to having a pen."

So, people at The Post took a look at some real video of the incident and came to the conclusion it was a black pen.

Based on the evidence already available (which I provided in my post below), it sure doesn't look like a black pen. But we also don't have access to the Fox footage the post does. Right?

Then there is this development brought to us by the friendly folks at, in which they post a picture that they say shows Kerry with a light-coloured pen in his right hand while he's reaching in his coat pocket with his left hand. Here's the image,

This raises the question of how the pen got in the right hand, as well as the question of what John Kerry was unfolding once he started to settle himself him at the podium.

At this point, the question of the smuggled object is confused. It could be innocent. It could be cheat sheets. There is certainly nothing conclusive indicting John Kerry. All we have is an admission that Kerry did technically break the rules of the debate, and some uncertainty as to how he broke them. In any event, I think some clearing of the air should be in order. He should not have brought anything in with him. Let's get some certainty about what it was that he did bring in with him. A presidential candidate owes at least that much, doesn't he?

There is something unsettling, however, about how the Kerry campaign has reacted to this. They have called Republicans liars. They have called people such as myself as being part of a "right-wing attack machine". Instead of behaving with some degree of maturity and some sense of responsibility, since it was their candidate who did break the rules, they lash out at the critics in the same way Dan Rather did with his forged anti-Bush documents. They even told Drudge that they'll 'see him at the inauguration'. With this kind of behaviour as an indicator, maybe not.

I'm not convinced this issue has been settled. The possibility that a presidential candidate swiftly smuggled in cheat sheets into a presidential debate is of serious concern. If he didn't, let's know for certain what he did do so we can move on to the rest of the debates without looking at John Kerry's hands all the time. Or maybe it's way too late for that.

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