Todd Domke

The future of the campaign

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Todd Domke
June 12, 2008

POLLSTERS SAY, "In politics, a week is an eternity." The next five months will seem even longer.

Let's fast-forward through the future TV coverage and catch the campaign highlights. . .

"THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS" George Stephanopoulos: "Good morning, candidates. My first 'gotcha' question: Can you spell my last name?"

John McCain: "I'll let Barack go first."

Barack Obama: "S - T -"

Stephanopoulos: "I was joking. Senator McCain, serious question: Will you agree to a Lincoln-Douglas debate?"

McCain: "Yes, under one condition - I get to be Lincoln."

Obama: "John, this would not be a reenactment. Besides, I'm more Lincolnesque - a tall Illinois lawyer."

Stephanopoulos: "May I suggest a compromise?"


(McCain is wearing a stovepipe hat. Obama has a beard.)

Chris Matthews: "Like the original Lincoln-Douglas debate, Senator McCain gets a 60-minute opening. Senator Obama then has 90 minutes. Senator McCain closes with 30."

McCain: "My friends - like Abraham Lincoln, I'm a humble, honest public servant. My opponent is well intentioned but naïve, elitist, and ultra-liberal. I will protect our nation. My opponent will raise your taxes. The choice is clear. Thank you."

Matthews: "Uh, you have 59 more minutes."

McCain: "I'll yield the remaining time to myself - for later."

Matthews: "Sorry. Use it or lose it."

McCain: "OK. Fellow Americans, I will defend this great nation. My opponent will tax it into oblivion. The choice is yours. Thank you. Very much."

Matthews: "Next, Senator Obama."

Obama: "Two score and six years ago, I was born. My parents didn't want me to grow up and become president, so they named me Barack Hussein. But I persevered. I was elected president of the Harvard Law Review . . . "

McCain: "Excuse me. I forgot to say something."

Matthews: "Sorry - you must wait until after Senator Obama's 90 minutes."

McCain: "I thought torture was illegal."

Matthews: "Senator Obama, please continue."

Obama: "I became a community organizer. . . We are the change we've been waiting for. We are the world. We are the children . ."

(73 minutes later)

McCain: "Zzzzzzzzzzzzz"


Barbara Walters: "Welcome to my home, senators."

McCain: "What a huge kitchen!"

Obama: "Should we sit at the kitchen table and discuss domestic issues?"

Walters: "I have a different idea. I want you both to relax and be candid candidates."

(CUT TO: Walters, McCain, and Obama in a jacuzzi - sipping pina coladas)

Walters: "Johnny, if you were a tree, what would you be?"

McCain: "Hmm. . . An Arizona cactus?"

Obama: "I'd be a hopeful tree, changing with the seasons. I'd have a swing for children, a hammock for the elderly . . ."

Walters: "Beautiful, sensitive."

McCain: "May I pick a different tree?"

Walters: "No, moving on. Favorite color?"

McCain: "Red."

Walters: "Republican red. Cute, predictable. Barry?"

Obama: "When I see rainbows, I notice the colors run together - unifying the spectrum. Red, white, blue . . ."

McCain: "Just pick one!"

Obama: "OK, plaid."

McCain: "Fair enough."

Walters: "If you could be any age . . .?"

McCain: "How old is Brad Pitt?"

Obama: "I would be 47 - one year older - so, as president, I'd already be saving the oceans and ending our reliance on fossil fuels. And saying 'fossil' is not a dig at John."

McCain: "(bleep bleep)"

Walters: "Senators, thank you for sharing."


Brian Williams, anchor: "The election is one week away. Joining me now is Tim Russert, our Washington bureau chief and host of 'Meet the Press.' Tim, what's happening?"

Tim Russert: "This race is over, Brian. I'm ready to project a winner."

Williams: "But voters haven't voted yet."

Russert: "True, but we've interviewed all 2,389 swing voters in the only swing state that is still a toss-up. They've made their decisions, Brian. It's no longer too close to call."

Williams: "What's the margin of error?"

Russert: "Zero. All 2,389 swing voters have signed contracts with NBC, promising not to change their minds."

Williams: "So NBC will be the first network to call the winner before actual voting. That will be historic."

Russert: "Yes. We're holding the announcement until we can interview both candidates and get their reactions - a victory sound-bite and a concession sound-bite."

Williams: "Another NBC exclusive. Thank you, Tim. Now, turning to other news . . ."

Todd Domke is a Boston area Republican political analyst, public relations strategist, and author.

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