Friday, January 25, 2008

The Debate Whisperer

Last night, as I was watching the MSNBC Republican debate, I was shocked by the question to Mitt Romney about Reagan's response in 1983 to Social Security. Not because the question was bad, or inappropriate... rather, because I heard something that I couldn't explain.

I had to YouTube it today to make sure I wasn't alone... and sure enough:

At first, I thought it was McCain whispering something. Other folks have said it was an open mike in the sound booth.

What I find coincidental, and what made my jaw drop, is that it APPEARED as if Romney was responding to the whisper voice, which just said "He Raised Taxes"... Romney's immediate response seemed to react to that voice: "I'm not going to raise taxes"

Coincidence? Who knows... but it made me raise an eyebrow.

Theories I have seen so far include:
  • Capture of a radio transmission to a Romney Earpiece
  • McCain whispering caught in his open mic (further theory is "they teamed up as a conspiracy to defeat Ron Paul")
  • Sound booth operator with an open mic
  • Romney being fed a scripted line, what was not heard was "I'm Not going", followed by what was heard "to raise taxes"... which is then exactly what Romney said: "I'm not going to raise taxes" - (the "Whisper" doesn't seem to wait for Tim to finish his question as much as Romney waits for the "Whisper" to finish)
  • Brian Williams whispering to Tim Russert
  • The signal could have been transmitted wirelessly and intended for a battery-operated earpiece worn by Romney, not unlike what people on talkshows and such wear, and picked up by receivers other than Romney's. It's kind of far-fetched but the timing of what is said in the whisper and what Romney seems just perfect for him to hear the whisper and react by repeating it.
What makes this even more odd is that MSNBC first had a blog reacting to this whisper, but it has since been mysteriously taken down:
Picture of webpage before vanishing

And Free Republic captured the story, vowing that this is not going to be swept away any time soon!

Did anyone else hear it? What are your theories?


  1. It has been cleared up. It was whispered to Russert so that he could specifically elaborate what he was referring to in his question. Instead of waiting for Russert to append his question, he (romney) answered it immediately.

    This is why the audience heard the whisper as well.

  2. Been cleared up by MSNBC? I will look into it, but thanks!

    When I heard that, I thought it was McCain... but after watching the Youtube videos a few times, I was unsure WHAT it was... just glad I wasn't hearing things!

    I will look into it more!

  3. Then ... here is the first whisper with amplified audio. In this one, you can hear "I'm not going" right after "raise taxes."

    Interesting. Does it even matter to anyone, though?

    Also ... I guess I should get a blogger account. Logging in through wordpress is making this thing show "huckabee said" before my comments.