Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to our final presidential debate. And we mean it this time. Let’s begin with the obvious question: Gentlemen, which of you is our president?
BUSH: I am!
GORE: I am!
Which of you had more votes?
BUSH: I did! Electoral votes!
GORE: I did! Popular votes!
What about recounts?
BUSH: We’re done counting!
GORE: We’ve only just begun.
BUSH: They’re mine! The military loves me!
GORE: They’re mine! Jewish voters living in Israel love me!
Which of you is better prepared to step into office?
BUSH: I am! I have Colin Powell lined up. I have Condoleezza Rice lined up. I have a whole staff ready to take over the White House.
GORE: Big deal. I already work there.
What about Florida?
BUSH: What about Florida? They voted. It’s over. Let’s wrap this puppy and start cooking chicken!
GORE: Over? Are you kidding me? They don’t know who they voted for down there. And at least 19,000 of them wanted me and got doodly. That’s not fair.
Should we have a revote in Florida?
BUSH: No way!
A word about Pat and Ralph
Let’s talk about Palm Beach County. Were the ballots there fair or unfair?
BUSH: Heck, how can a ballot be unfair? There I was, right on the top, where I belong. And there he was, right underneath me, where he belongs. And all you had to do was push in one of those little holes and pick your guy. What the heck’s hard about that?
GORE: What’s hard about that is that the holes don’t line up. I’m on the left, and Pat Buchanan’s on the right.
BUSH: Everybody knows that.
GORE: But if you press the hole near me, you could end up voting for Buchanan.
BUSH: So? Pat Buchanan’s a fine man. I like him. Almost as much as I like Ralph Nader.
GORE: You creep-
Gentlemen, let’s stay on the subject. The Palm Beach residents, particularly the elderly ones, say they want to vote again. What do you say?
BUSH: I say, “Grandma, have a glass of lemonade and sit your butt down.” A vote is a vote. You don’t get to keep voting. Heck, that’s why we have one election day every three years.
GORE: Four years, you moron.
BUSH: HE INTERRUPTED ME!
GORE: Of course they should revote. What’s Mr. Bush afraid of? If they really wanted Buchanan, they’ll vote for him again.
BUSH: Well, shoot, let’s just have another vote in Iowa then. And another vote in New Mexico. I think any place I lost is a pretty good place to have a revote, how ’bout you?
GORE: You disgust me.
BUSH: Just have your office cleaned out by New Year’s, pal …Gentlemen!
A deadlocked Congress
Now, please. Just a few last questions. For the good of the country, should one of you step aside?
And who should it be?
What about going to court?
BUSH: Dumb idea.
GORE: Excellent idea.
BUSH: Court is no place for the presidency.
GORE: Really? Did you say that when they booked you for drunken driving?
BUSH: That’s IT! YOU &%$#–
Gentlemen, please! One more minute! Do you both realize the Senate could be dead even, Republican versus Democrat? And Congress is almost even as well?
BUSH: It is?
GORE: It is?
And whoever gets the presidency will have to fight that, plus a nation in which half the people feel they were cheated?
BUSH: He will?
GORE: He will?
Meanwhile, whoever bows out gracefully will be the sentimental favorite for the presidency in 4 years?
BUSH: Hmm …
GORE: Hmm …
BUSH: He won.
GORE: No, he won! . . .
Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch “Albom in the Afternoon” 3-6 weekdays on WJR-AM (760).