Kerry complains of unfair criteria

ST. LOUIS, MO ( political analysts declared a statistical tie in last night's tightly contested presidential debate, but President Bush the psychological "winner."

That was because, for the first time in more than four years, the President uttered a few sentences that nearly made sense and, even more surprisingly, had at least some resemblance to grammatical rules.

John Kerry's team immediately protested, saying the criteria for the two contenders was unfair.

"If President Bush utters a sentence that one can make any sense of, and that has some semblance of grammar, no matter how outlandish, everyone is so surprised they clap and cheer," said Mary Beth Cahill, John Kerry's campaign manager. "It's like the slowest kid in school, everyone's given up on him. So when one day he gets 20% on a test on which normally he gets nothing right, everyone--his peers, the teacher--is incredibly surprised and cheers him on. But if the smartest kid in the class gets 80% when he normally aces it, everyone's disappointed. And that's the situation we're presently in."

"Fair, unfair, that's the way it is, " said William Schneider, CNN's senior political analyst. "If a mentally challenged fellow gets through a comic book and has some idea of what it's about, we all cheer for the guy. It's just that in this case, the fellow happens to be the President of the United States."

The sentences in the middle of the controversy came in response to a question about a report released this week re-iterating no evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

The President responded: "I wasn't happy when we found out there wasn't no weapons. But Saddam Hussein was a threat; he'd shoot a rifle from the terrace of his palace. And everyone knows you shouldn't shoot no rifle in public like that. That's real dangerous. So--where was I?--the world's better off without him in power, I figure. And my opponent's plans leads me to conclude that Saddam Hussein would still be in power, and holding that rifle, and the world sure would be more dangerous."

The President's response was met with several moments of incredulous silence, then the crowd erupted into a 5-minute standing ovation.

Several Bush supporters yelled, "Encore, encore," and the President, seemingly as surprised as anyone, pumped his hands over his head like a gold medallist.

Emboldened by the response, he continued: "And if a rifle ain't no weapon of mass de"--

However, before the President could ruin his previous statement, the mediator, ABC's Charles Gibson, cut him short: "Mr. President, with respect, I think you should quit while you're ahead on this one. Next question."

The President nodded.

Possibly enhancing Cahill's allegations, the next questionnaire, a plump woman identifying herself as Janet, a cashier from Bonne Terre, a small town in Missouri, said: "I have two questions. Senator Kerry, what do you make of Hobbes' position on Fate vs. Free will and how does it differ from yours? And President Bush, what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?"

Senator Kerry responded: "Well, Janet, I'm glad you asked that question. It's been a long time since I read Hobbes' position, but if I'm not mistaken, Hobbes states that man wants to do some things but not others. The last decision is called will. He deliberates and then acts. My position isn't dissimilar to his in this matter."

Kerry's response was met with silence, but this time no applause. Even Mr Gibson was shaking his head.

Then answered President Bush: "Janet, I know you agree with me when I says Senator Kerry's opinion's a bit wishy-washy." Again, the town hall erupted into wild applause. "And, my favorite flavor? Let me answer you honestly and decisively: Ben and Jerry's Chubby Bubbly…Dubbly Hubby…heck, Janet, you know what I mean."

The wild applause turned into cries of "encore, encore," and "bravo."

A few roses even fell at the President's feet. He picked one up, smelled it and blew the audience a kiss.

Copyright © 2004, TheShortStraw


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