Jim Lehrer greets the audience and explains the rules of the debate. Basically, he will ask questions and the candidates will then be free to talk about anything they choose in response. They lose points if they actually refer to the question posed. Obama and McCain step to their respective podiums. Jim Lehrer calls out “Hey, Exterminator, where are you?” The Exterminator enters with a mouthful of Good ‘n’ Plenty and says “Mffff mfffnfm mffn.”
Lehrer asks about the financial recovery plan. Both Obama and McCain are for and against it. The Exterminator pledges to help Main Street through this crisis, and also gives a shout-out to Elm Street, Oak Street, and Chestnut Drive. He reaches into his back pocket, pulls out his wallet, and shows the audience its contents: $5.67 and a snapshot of his cat who died in 1983. When asked to explain, he offers to split his funds with the American people and urges Obama and McCain to show “What’s in your wallet?” When neither of the other candidates take him up on his magnanimous offer, he looks at Lehrer through a piece of Saran Wrap and says “I’m for transparency.”
Lehrer urges the candidates to talk to one another about the recovery plan. Obama pulls up a chair and begins to chat with McCain, who rudely takes a phone call on his cell. The Exterminator tells a few jokes to himself and laughs uproariously.
Jim Lehrer asks the candidates if there are any “fundamental” differences between them on their reactions to the bailout plan. McCain points out that Obama is black, and Obama retaliates by stating that McCain is old. Then they trade made-up figures. The Exterminator demonstrates conclusively that he’s the only one on stage who’s wearing a Bugs Bunny tie.
Lehrer reminds the candidates that there’s a fiscal disaster happening and asks them what programs they would be willing to give up if they’re elected. The Exterminator unhesitatingly vows to stop spending the taxpayer’s money on repeats of The King of Queens. Obama says he’s willing to give up some programs, and then proves it by rattling off a string of initiatives that will apparently be paid for only by the richest 5% of Americans. McCain promises to cut wasteful spending, and immediately calls his real estate broker to put Obama’s and the Exterminator’s houses on the market.
The economic portion of the debate is over. Both Obama and McCain rush to get in touch with their accountants. The Exterminator bends over to pick up a dime he dropped. Lehrer polls the audience to see which candidate should be given the Miss Congeniality award, and McCain loses.
Lehrer asks the candidates about the “lessons of Iraq.” McCain praises the surge and sings “You Light Up My Life” to David Petreus. Obama wonders why we haven’t yet killed bin Laden, and carefully avoids saying “Osama.” The Exterminator calls for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from the United States.
McCain raises a number of points and Obama responds by praising Joe Biden and the surge. McCain and Obama get into an argument about the difference between strategy and tactics, and Lehrer suggests that they play a game of chess while millions of Americans watch. The Exterminator counts his money again.
Lehrer asks about Afghanistan, so the candidates retire briefly to watch a screening of The Man Who Would Be King. Obama talks smack about Pakistan and worries about the exploding flower trade in that part of the world. McCain reviews the entire history of the region, and pronounces “Waziristan” correctly. He also urges Obama to keep his mouth shut about U.S. plans to invade Pakistan. The Exterminator does a pretty good Sean Connery impression, but can’t seem to master Michael Caine.
McCain points out that he voted against James K. Polk’s war with Mexico. Then both McCain and Obama show off their jewelry. The Exterminator explains why bracelets give him a rash.
Lehrer tells the candidates that they’ve both wasted exactly the same amount of time, but laughingly chastises them for taking too long not to answer the questions. The Exterminator wonders aloud whether that’s a strategy or a tactic.
Obama and McCain are both worried about an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, and they both enunciate “nuclear” perfectly to distinguish themselves from George Bush. The Exterminator suggests that we start calling the country “Persia” again, and fuck ‘em if they don’t like it. McCain would not sit down at the table with Ahmadinejad. Obama, on the other hand is willing to send someone to sit down at a different table with a different person, but acknowledges that he doesn’t expect anyone to serve matzo ball soup. The Exterminator reserves judgment until he sees what the meal is, and hints that he might be willing to eat standing up.
McCain and Obama argue about what Henry Kissinger said when he was drunk the other night. The Exterminator amuses no one by speaking in a thick German accent.
Lehrer asks the candidates about Russia. All of them know where it is. The Exterminator volunteers that he once read The Brothers Karamazov and has eaten borscht many times. Henry Kissinger calls Lehrer and asks him to come over for some caviar and infused vodka after the debates.
For the 147th time, Obama says that McCain is absolutely right about everything and then calls him a liar. McCain accuses Obama of not understanding anything, and to be fair, demonstrates his own lack of understanding. The Exterminator tallies his change one more time.
Obama informs America that his father was from Kenya. McCain reminds viewers of his own history: apparently, he was once a P.O.W. The Exterminator tells a long, pointless anecdote about Nanny.
Obama and McCain hug their wives. The Exterminator searches the audience in vain for Mrs. Ex, who has fled the premises in embarrassment after noticing that her husband’s fly was open throughout the entire debate. Lehrer calls Kissinger to accept his invitation, but only on condition that Ahmadinejad will not be there.
Saturday, September 27, 2008