Night of the Living Debate

Danny Katch didn't care for the debate in Denver--so he came up with a new version.

Presidential candidates Romney and Obama at their first debate

FOR THOSE of you who were too busy, bored or unpatriotic to watch the debate yesterday, congratulations. Mitt Romney told one lie after another, the moderator was a frightened old man, and the whole thing was so boring that Barack Obama seemed to have trouble staying awake.

So I decided to rewrite last night's debate to better reflect the true character of the two candidates and the choice we have in Election 2012.

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Jim Lehrer: Good evening and welcome to the first presidential debate of the 2012 election. President Obama, you may begin your opening statement.

Obama: Thanks J-Leh. My opponent wants you to ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years ago. Don't answer that--unless you're an upper-level executive or investor.

Instead, think about how much worse things might possibly have gotten in the last four years. The economy could have continued its freefall. Wildfires might have swept across the country--well, more of the country. The monkey rebellion in that Planet of the Apes remake from last year could have really happened. Now think about how much better off you are today compared to that.

Lehrer: Now we turn to Gover...I'm sorry, Mr. Romney, but what should we call you? It's been almost six years since you've been had any job other than running for president.

Romney: You can call me anything you want, Jim, just don't call me late for dinner! (laughs) I say that in a humorous manner, but in fact, I am always punctual and well prepared, whether it be for meals, snacks or saving this country.

It's true that I have been running for president since 2007. That hard work and dedication is the reason I have been able to run such a mistake-free campaign.

I want to be president because I believe things should be good. America should be the strongest country in the world, with the best economy and the widest selection of drug stores. President Obama is a decent man but he wants things to be bad. He thinks people should not have jobs and ambassadors to Libya should be killed. I disagree very strongly with him about that, and I think most Americans do, too.

Lehrer: Thank you, gentlemen. Tonight's first question is about the economy. What can you say to those people who are still struggling five years since the start of the recession?

Romney: The first thing I would say is that I care about all Americans equally. Whether you are a productive contributor to American society or a pathetic hanger-on, I value you the same. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I love poor people--especially medium rare...I...I...I mean, median rate. I will raise the median rate of poor people's...you know...money.

Obama: (stares in shock at Romney before turning to the camera) It's true that economic growth is not where we would like it to be. In fact, most of it is in China and Brazil! Ah hah, zing!

Ahem, but seriously. To those of you suffering in this economy, I salute your endurance and resilience. Your ability to watch the people who donate millions to both Governor Romney and myself get richer and richer and not burn down our banks in earthshaking riots is the secret ingredient in the continued success of the United States. You are the unsung heroes of our national story.

Lehrer: Our next topic is immigration. President Obama we'll begin with you.

Obama: I came to office in 2008 promising to find creative bipartisan solutions to problems that seemed unsolvable, and that's exactly what I did with undocumented immigrants. I've offered young people the chance to stay here and study and work, while I've deported more of their parents than any president in history. I got the idea from King Solomon, who ordered a baby to be cut in half so that each woman who claimed to be its mother could enjoy a beautiful half-baby.

Romney: First of all, I want to emphasize that I have a deep respect for the Hispanics. Most of you have come here in search of what I believe you call "La Vida Loca."

There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about my position on self-deportation. That's not an anti-immigrant thing. I believe in self-deportation for all sorts of people: overpaid union workers, incompetent concierges, the list goes on and on. Let's get them out of here...(smiling to himself) except for the tasty ones, of course.

Lehrer: My next question is for Governor Romney. Many have complained that your campaign has been short on specifics. How would you respond?

Romney: I have heard those critics, and that's why, tonight, my campaign is unveiling our most detailed program yet: I plan to make America 2.5 times as strong within my first year in office. Furthermore, Paul Ryan and I will implement policies that will grow our economy by 10 percent each year. But that's not all. If 1 million of you pledge to vote for me tonight, I will raise that economic growth to 20 percent--and I'll even throw in 50 percent more freedom! Act now. Romney/Ryan operators are standing by.

Obama: (with a smirk) Excuse me, Jim, but may I ask Governor Romney if those operators are in America or are those more outsourced jobs?

Romney: I'm glad you asked, Mr. President, because they are American jobs. In fact, our operators are just down the road from here in the Colorado Springs Juvenile Detention Center. And that's just a...taste, if you will, of my massive new jobs program. I don't want to reveal too much and...spoil the appetite of the American people, so to speak, before the Romney presidency begins.

Lehrer: This next question is for President Obama. It's been said that your campaign is less about hope and change than it was four years ago. Do you agree?

Obama: I do, Jim. We were a little naïve in 2008, when we thought we could make sweeping changes. Turns out we didn't get much done even when our party controlled both houses of Congress, much less when the Republicans took over the House.

Now I have a more realistic plan, which is to keep doing the same stuff that didn't work the first time. I have a perfect campaign slogan for a country that feels like it's hit a brick wall: Forward.

Lehrer: Governor Romney, your response?

Romney: All I can tell you is that when I become president, there will be big changes. (licks his lips and smacks them) Big.

Lehrer: I have one more question for both candidates. The New York Times reported yesterday that members of both parties are working on a deal to solve the budget deficit by cutting both Social Security and Medicare, two of the most popular programs in American history. Would either of you like to use this opportunity to honestly describe your economic plans to the American people?

Both: Nope!

Lehrer: That's what I thought. It's time for closing statements. Governor Romney will be first.

Romney: My fellow Americans, I believe that there are two types of people in this world: predators and prey. This election offers a stark choice not just for the direction the country will go in, but which one of those you will be. As president, I will implement a master plan that will simultaneously reduce our unemployment rate and end our country's senseless war on cannibalism. Vote Romney, and never worry again about having meat on the dinner table.

Lehrer: (eyes wide) P-p-p-president Obama, your closing statement.

Obama: As I've said from the beginning of this campaign, voters face a clear choice: We can keep going down the same failed path, where those with the most power and influence call the shots, and more and more people find themselves shut out. Or we can choose Mitt Romney to be our leader, and that just seems like the scariest thing imaginable. Make your decision wisely. God Bless Ameri--

Romney: (staggering in front of the camera) Brains!! I want brains!! Excuse me. I mean to say Bain. I worked for Bain. Oh wait, that's just as bad, isn't it? Oh, the heck with it. Brains!!!! I want brains!!!!