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I'm sorry the story seems to have drifted downstream. It probably deserves more attention, because the Republican debate in Florida just possibly represents a continuation of a mindless puppet onstage reacting to backstage string-pullers. Eight years of that game is enough.

You know the particulars, I hope. During last Thursday's Republican debate, Russert asked a question of Romney about Reagan's deal on Social Security in 1983, and the whispered voice is heard prompting "He raised taxes." The candidate mouthed the reflexive "I won't raise taxes" twice. There is no reason else for anybody at any time to be delivering the whispered line except to alert the puppet to his pat speech.

It is identical to a drifting Reagan himself being heard prompted by Nancy: "We're doing all we can" and then repeating that very phase. Romney thus wins the contest as the new Reagan.

MSNBC professes mystification as to where the voice came from. It was called a Janet Jackson moment, a "microphone malfunction." I contend that is true; the mic for the candidates is supposed to be off during the question to allow for just this sort of stealth coaching, and it  wasn't in this instance. The defensiveness of MSNBC implicates them in the plot (the original quiz show scandal resulted from a sponsor demanding a more exciting program than contestants thrashing around with the wrong answers), and the silence of the other candidates brings them into the theory as well. It all begins to look to this writer, who was also in the TV audience for the original quiz show scandals, to be a rehash.

Believe nothing and nobody. Doubt is your best defense when all about are lies.

Originally posted to Timus on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 10:40 AM PST.


I believe the whispered line in question

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