March 13, 2007
Welcome to the Nevada Democratic Party Presidential DebateBy William Tate
"Welcome to the Nevada Democratic Party presidential debate. My Name is Tim Russert and I'll be you moderator tonight--"
"Excuse me, Tim."
"Yes, candidate Edwards?"
"As you know, Tim, we simply refuse to appear on any media outlet that doesn't present a lib... uh, a fair perspective of this election. And I'm afraid that, before we continue, we need to establish your credentials."
"I'm the Washington bureau chief of NBC News and the host of Meet the Press."
"All well and good, Tim, but I was referring to your background in politics."
"Well, Mister Edwards, I used to work for Democratic Senator Daniel Moynhihan."
"I don't know if that passes muster, Tim. Moynihan could be kind of independent. Anything else?"
"I also worked for Mario Cuomo."
"More like it! He's a true Democrat."
"Oh, and I waived my normally sacrosanct journalistic responsibility to protect my sources in order to help convict Scooter Libby."
"Well, okay. We'll let you proceed ... for now."
"Thank you so much, Mister Edwards. I won't let you down. I promise.
Joining me on tonight's panel is the host of ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos."
"Good evening, Tim."
"Yes, Mister Edwards?"
"Before we proceed, I'm afraid, Mister Stephanopolous, that we need to establish your credentials to ask non-biased questions of presidential candidates."
"Well, I don't really have too many journalistic credentials, Mister Edwards."
"We don't care about that, George. What about your politics?"
"I served as a senior advisor to President Clinton."
"Is that all?"
"I helped him get elected."
"Hmm. I'll have to think about that."
"While you're doing that, candidate Edwards, let me introduce the other member of tonight's panel, my colleague at NBC News, Chris Matthews. Chris is the host of..."
"Yes, Mister Edwards?"
"I think we need to establish--"
"I know, the credentials..."
"I was an aide to Tip O'Neill, you southern nitwit. You simply can't get more Democrat than that."
"Just one job, Chris?"
"I was a speech writer for President Carter, pretty boy."
"Oh. I guess you're okay."
"Unfortunately, because of time constraints, we can't make similar introductions for the rest of our unbiased panel, which includes representatives from the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, PBS, CNN, NPR, Time, Newsweek, and, at the far end down there, the one in the red dress, Helen Thomas."
"George W. Bush is still the worst president ever, Tim!"
"Yes, well. Thank you Helen. We'll start with opening statements from our selected candidates. The order of those statements was determined by random drawing--"
"Again, Mister Edwards?"
"I would like to make a formal protest to the results of that drawing.
My campaign staff has determined that it was conducted by someone who we suspect may have once watched the Fox News Channel."
"Your protest is duly noted. Now, we'll start with the opening statement of candidate Edwards."
"Thanks, Tim. Let me start by stating how glad I am that we are able to have this debate in front of such an unbiased media panel. As candidates for the highest office in the land, we have an obligation to talk to everyone ... so long as they agree with us."
"This nation is at a critical point in its history, Tim. This election presents us with a clear choice: to appear on the Fox News Channel, or not. I, for one, want to inspire America ... to avoid FNC."
"Tim, unlike my opponents, I actually have experience in dealing with the country's problems. I have avoided Fox News Channel for years. But that's not all. I'd like to announce tonight that my attorneys have filed suit to prevent FNC from saying my name or showing my picture on air ... unless the face is blurred, and then only from the waist up."
"Alright, it's time for our unbiased panelists to ask questions. George?"
"This question is for all the candidates, Tim. Candidates, who do you think is more evil: Satan or George W. Bush?"
"Yes, Mister Edwards?"
"Could I amend my response? Bush ... and the Fox News Channel."
"Now an unbiased question from Chris Matthews."
"Alright, you slack-jawed spineless substitute for real Democrats, the current administration has run roughshod over the constitution, which leads me to ask, which part of the constitution is most important to you? Senator Obama?"
"All of it, Chris. But especially the part that allows senators to make money in their blind trusts."
"Well, Chris, I have studied the constitution extensively looking for legal loopholes ... uh ... I mean, overlooked details, and I find the part that allows presidents to grant pardons to be very important."
"Why the right to free speech, of course.
William Tate is a former award-winning broadcast journalist. He is a writer and researcher who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.