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October 1, 2002
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Was Jeb Bush fed the Florida Grubernatorial debate? The governor addresses random voter "Sylvia" in regards to her question. The problem is that the moderator didn't say a woman named Sylvia has a question until three minutes later. (More inside)
posted by XQUZYPHYR (32 comments total)

 
The questions asked by the moderator were given as actual questions from randomly selected "person on the street" Florida voters. You can watch the debate here, and around 17:30 the Governor responds to "Sylvia," apparently mistaking the name of the voter. Three minutes later, the next question asked is by a woman named Sylvia.

Yeah, this comes from an obviously partisan site, and yeah, this is very conspiracy-theory; but it's not like two guys named John asked questions. What are the odds of someone named Sylvia asking a question, let alone Jeb mistakingly thinking a woman named Sylvia was who he was talking to three minutes earlier- especially since the name of the person asking the question was Fran? And why, if it is just a coincidence, is the pre-emptive mention of Sylvia eliminated from the official transcript of the debate? If the candidates were given a list of names in advance, why has no one in the news addressed this yet? And why does everyone in Florida have such strange names? Fran? Sylvia? Jeb? I THINK NOT!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:05 AM on October 1, 2002


And why does everyone in Florida have such strange names?

Oh right, like you should talk, XQUZYPHYR.
posted by soyjoy at 10:19 AM on October 1, 2002


D'oh! Well, if David Blaine can stage his audience, it was bound to find its way into politics. Not the first time, I'm sure. Again, my non-partisan appraisal of all politicians: The ventriloquist dummy just don't(sic) talk by itself.
posted by Shane at 10:21 AM on October 1, 2002


As far as I'm concerned, the removal of the name from the transcript boosts this from meaningless to incriminating. I'd love to hear what the official explanation is for doing so.
posted by soyjoy at 10:21 AM on October 1, 2002


I think the reason is obvious, soyjoy. Fool us once, shame on them. Fool us twice...
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:24 AM on October 1, 2002


The site went KABLOOIE!
posted by McBain at 10:27 AM on October 1, 2002


READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE.

The answer given by the moderator is completely plausible.. there are monitors facing the debators with the people asking the question on them. He looked at the one with the next presenter queued up.

But two things: One, Putney had it backwards...he didn't say Fran while talking to Sylvia..He said Sylvia while talking to Fran...this is important, because Sylvia came AFTER Fran, not before.

Two: This Putney character showed his truth colors with some off-color conclusions about the McBride campaign that were patently incorrect.

Fuck am I glad I can vote for McBride instead of Reno...the fewer Bushes we have in the system, the better.
posted by taumeson at 10:30 AM on October 1, 2002


READ THE FUCKING ARTICLE.

You must be new here. That isn't the way things work around here, buster.
posted by Skot at 10:42 AM on October 1, 2002


And why does everyone in Florida have such strange names? Fran? Sylvia? Jeb?

'jeb' is a perfectly kromulant name.
posted by jeb at 11:03 AM on October 1, 2002


Jeb Bush's real name is "John Ellis Bush"

I suppose he took on the 'Jeb' nickname to be more palatable to the northern florida types, if you know what I mean
posted by Babylonian at 11:18 AM on October 1, 2002


Okay, first of all, TAKE A FUCKING PROZAC. You don't need to yell.

Next, PLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR FUCKING POST. Which of my links is "the article-" the transcript, the Realmedia file, or the weblog post? And in which of them, where does the moderator say the next clip is queued up?

Finally, CHECK THE FUCKING VIDEO. For all we know, the graphics were added by C-SPAN, not the people at the debate. Also, it appears as though during questions the standard "Florida 2002 debate" graphic is on the monitor. Is there proof of your theory of the queuing, or do you wish to clarify that it's just a theory? And again- if this is the case, once again, why hasn't anyone just said this?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:20 AM on October 1, 2002


Oh come on! The Bush family would never stoop to cheating! This is America, the land of opportunity! People don't cheat to get ahead!
posted by bucko at 11:23 AM on October 1, 2002


Well, if David Blaine can stage his audience, it was bound to find its way into politics.

Maybe so, but the truly relevant question is: did McBride have equal access to the same information?
posted by Dirjy at 11:35 AM on October 1, 2002


Actually, I think he's Jeb from his initials (John Ellis Bush.)
posted by ltracey at 11:35 AM on October 1, 2002


Okay, first of all, jeb, that spelling of 'cromulent' ... isn't.

And lest anyone, and I mean anyone, forget the, er, irony of Jeb "John Ellis" Bush's name...
posted by soyjoy at 11:39 AM on October 1, 2002


Fuck am I glad I can vote for McBride instead of Reno...the fewer Bushes we have in the system, the better.

What do you mean by this?
posted by originalname37 at 11:43 AM on October 1, 2002


from the linked Salon.com piece, Joe Conason writes, "It isn't easy to tell from the C-SPAN tape what Bush is looking at when he answers."

I looked at it, Bush pauses becuase he forgets her name looks over at the screen that would most likely have citizen questioners name but the name is most likely already cued up for the next citizen questioner, so Jeb says that name. What else would Jeb be looking at? Michael Putney's good looks?

-Z

posted by ZupanGOD at 12:35 PM on October 1, 2002


No offense or anything.. but do you people have jobs or anything?

I mean, I can understand if your job is a news analyst or working for one of the parties, but, umm...

Anyway.. it seems pretty innocuous to me.
posted by rich at 12:41 PM on October 1, 2002


Okay, just so this doesn't get any more confusing: will everyone please note that my FPP linked to a blog. Which, like other blogs, gets updated.

You will additionally note that the newest post about the Salon.com article was made after I posted the FPP. So please no more attacks on the FPP for not reading the Salon article, thanks.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:42 PM on October 1, 2002


XQUZYPHYR: Which of my links is "the article-" the transcript, the Realmedia file, or the weblog post? And in which of them, where does the moderator say the next clip is queued up?

Easily checked -- the link. Go to the top of the page. Read the following excerpt, quoted from elsewhere: Michael Putney says that's just ridiculous. "Let me be absolutely clear about this: neither candidate had advance knowledge of either the questions or the names of the citizens asking them," he replied to my questions in an email this morning. And he has an alternatefront of the candidates, but not visible on any camera, the director would cue up the next questioner and freeze it--with the 'super' line with the questioner's name beneath it. My guess is that Gov. Bush looked up and saw the name 'Fran' and her face on the monitor and inadvertently used it rather than 'Sylvia.' Big deal, right? The McBride campaign is desperately trying to find a conspiracy where none exists."

As said by the rather distinctive languaged fellow, he got Fran and Sylvia backwards in the explaination, but it is still plausible. I would invite you to read the link, but I'm not sure where to stick "fucking" to make it imperative enough. In time I should figure it out, but I wanted to be safe this time. *grin*
posted by dwivian at 12:44 PM on October 1, 2002


Regardless of what happened, the omission of the "Sylivia" in the official transcript is pretty strange. Is the removal of names standard practice in transcripts? Where is the transcript in its entirety?
posted by hoborg at 1:01 PM on October 1, 2002


If you watch the video clip of the debate and read along with the "transcript" on that blog, it quickly becomes apparent that it is not exact. There are many word changes/ omissions, making it not at all surprising that the Sylvia name flub was cut out.
posted by Mushkelley at 1:15 PM on October 1, 2002


This word, "cromulent"... from the Simspons?
posted by sklero at 2:33 PM on October 1, 2002


The kids at Springfield elementary are assembled to watch the educational film, Young Jebediah Springfield:
Jebediah: [on film] A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

Ms. Crabapple: Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield.

Ms.Hoover: I don't know why. It's a perfectly cromulent word.
I guess it's time to put this one on my (nascent) memes page.
posted by vraxoin at 3:04 PM on October 1, 2002


hoborg, I would say that the typical rush production of transcripts often omits details like that, in particular connecting words or those that don't make sense in context. A little like the way reporters usually "correct" quotes before printing them.

It's a reporter's truism that the easiest way to make someone look bad is to print their words, verbatim.
posted by dhartung at 3:18 PM on October 1, 2002


I don't really see what the big shock is. Of course politicians' handlers work everything they can. They don't want randomness, they want soundbites. That, of course, is an outgrowth of the system.
posted by nick.a at 3:25 PM on October 1, 2002


Jeepers, nick.a! There's a world of difference between orchestrated appearances and speeches- which we're used to and expect- and the possibility that Bush was fed the questions prior to the debate, in clear violation of the stated rules of this particular debate as well as quite probably election law. It's not that he might have known the questions before hand, it's that the rules stated neither candidate was supposed to know the questions, and that McBride wouldn't therefore have the advantage of preparing and rehearsing very specific responses to each question as Jeb would if he had the questions before hand. It's the difference between studying for a test and taking a pop quiz.

Me, I'm not totally buying the very defensive moderator's explanation at this time- after all, he couldn't get the names straight, maybe he only thinks or assumes it must have been the way he describes. Certainly, McBride himself could clear it up and state whether the screens with the videotaped questions had the next questioner (including their name) queued up after the last one finished.
posted by hincandenza at 5:45 PM on October 1, 2002


Say what you want about the Bushies but get the hell off David Blaine before he disappears your silly asses! Are you unaware of his powers?
posted by Mack Twain at 6:23 PM on October 1, 2002


originalname37 - i think they mean that mcbride is a stronger candidate against bush than reno would have been. if i'm not mistaken, mcbride was reno's contestant in the primary.
posted by centrs at 11:58 PM on October 1, 2002


vraxoin, you are part of the conspiracy! You include the written transcript from the Simpsons episode in question, but note, please, how it differs from the audiotape of that same episode.

Jebediah: [on film] A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

Ms. Crabapple: Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield.

Ms.Hoover: I don't know why. It's a perfectly cromulent word, Sylvia.
posted by soyjoy at 8:59 AM on October 2, 2002


Well put, dhartung. And soyjoy. :)
posted by hoborg at 2:29 PM on October 2, 2002


Is the removal of names standard practice in transcripts?

It's pretty common to clean up transcripts, especially if the transcript will be released to the public and press. Grammar mistakes, uhs and ums, and sometimes gaffs like the one in question are deleted or fixed, primarily to make the transcript easier to read and follow.

Whether this practice is a good one in all cases is, obviously, still debatable.
posted by me3dia at 11:49 AM on October 3, 2002


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