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What a Little Bird Told Me about George W. Bush

Warning: Some material may not be suitable for children

5:02 PM, Oct 28, 2004 • By KATHERINE MANGU-WARD
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THE TEXANS FOR TRUTH have unearthed a video clip of a young-looking Bush flipping the camera the bird--or, as he prefers to call it, the "one-fingered victory salute."

Apparently taped when he was still governor, the video captures Bush clowning around before some kind of official recording session. He complains that an off-screen aide, probably Karen Hughes, is "still telling me what to do" and then lets the bird fly.

If this is the best the Texans for Truth can do for an October surprise, then I'm sorely disappointed. Salon smugly notes that the "video isn't likely to energize the evangelical base the White House cares about most." But if seeing their commander-in-chief cheerfully giving one of his closest advisers the finger doesn't win Bush some votes in the coveted cell-phone voter demographic, I don't know what will. Sure, some will argue that the frat boy image is bad for Bush--but not if the votes he's trying to get are from actual frat boys.

Actually, though, the most telling moment of the video isn't Bush's creative use of his central digit. Watch the clip again. Right there, before he drops the non-verbal F-bomb, Bush runs his hands over his hair. That appears to be the sum total of the proto-president's pre-camera toilette. The temptation to compare this clip with the one of John Edwards's elaborate TV prep hair ritual is too great, and to be honest, I wasn't trying to hard to resist it in the first place.

And I wasn't alone in succumbing to the temptation. To more fully appreciate the contrasts between the grooming styles of Edwards and Bush, check out this video.

And so, in the final days of the presidential election, it comes down to this: Mirrored Compact vs. Middle Finger. We report, you decide.

Katherine Mangu-Ward is a reporter for The Weekly Standard.