By Joel Achenbach,
Washington Post Staff Writer.
"Vice President Gore, appearing this morning on NBC's 'Today' show, announced that his first priority as president would be to distribute gold bricks from Fort Knox to every middle-class family in America. He also vowed to combat rising aluminum foil prices by releasing part of the federal government's Strategic Foil Reserve.
'We live in a nation in which a typical family can no longer afford to wrap a baked potato in foil,' Gore said. 'That must change. I will take on big foil. Under my administration, foil will be cheaper than paper towels. You will wrap your potato in foil and, when fully baked, slather it with real butter and giant dollops of sour cream. You will have bacon bits! You will have whatever you want, more than you ever dream. When I'm president, the motto of this great country will be Try Some Cheese on That.'
Challenged by interviewer Matt Lauer, Gore denied he was pandering. He said he was far too busy watching NBC's brilliant coverage of the Olympics. He promised Lauer that, under a Gore administration, NBC's coverage of the 2004 Olympics in Athens would have 'fantastic' ratings, even if it means asking the Justice Department to shut down all other television networks.
'I can get you a 26 rating with a 43 share, Matt. I can get you 'Survivor' numbers,' the vice president said. 'And I like what you've done with you hair.'
Republican candidate George W. Bush, campaigning in Guam, said Gore's latest series of promises were 'truly abdominal.'
'He says one thing today, but wait until yesterday or the day before that. What then?' Bush said. 'It's irrepressible. We need repressible leadership in this country. We need parents loving their children. It's the hardest job. Loving them with your HEART. A single mother, working. You let bureaucrats give you foil, next thing, they've got wax paper. They've got freezer bags. Knives and forks. Then they get our guns. Heck yeah I'm ticked off. I'm interrogated.'
Bush campaign officials in Austin, asked to translate the governor's words, released a statement saying Bush was fatigued from playing 36 holes on Sunday.
Gore is seeking to get his campaign back on track after a series of recent stumbles. At a fund-raiser last week, Gore and his running mate, Joe Lieberman, dressed in a hockey mask and wielding a chain saw, chased Gore out of the building. Gore later vowed that, as president, all movies will have a G rating 'regardless of content.'
Gore also struggled with the so-called 'dog' issue. It happened after he told a story about his mother-in-law paying three times as much for an arthritis medication as what his family pays to give the same drug to his dog, Shiloh. Investigative journalists tracked down the details of the situation and learned that the dog was a 'composite.' Gore spent several days hedging when asked if he really had a dog.
'I definitely have a mother-in-law. And I know many people who have dogs,' Gore said in his defense. 'If we accept the premise that I have a dog, we can rest assured that it would certainly be a severely arthritic dog. This dog, real or imagined, can barely crawl across the room. And although I personally am too busy to attend to the needs of an animal companion, I have an able staff that informs me of any medical needs of the creatures in my environment. Therefore the anecdote comports with the truth as we can ascertain it presently.'
Although a few right-wing pundits and radio talk show hosts assailed Gore for his 'legalistic' language, the news media in general agreed to let the dog story die after Gore campaign officials pointed out that any additional negative coverage could hurt Gore in the polls.
Campaign aides in Nashville, spinning the situation, pointed out that Gore is not a 'natural politician,' and has difficulty with the basic requirement of believing his own lies. Gore, they said, still chuckles nervously just before he utters a stretcher.
'He has studied at the feet of the master for eight years, and still doesn't quite get it,' one aide said. 'He;s improving. We think for a moment he actually believed the dog anecdote was true.'
Later today Gore plans to propose a $5000 dollar tax credit to middle-class parents who read anti-gun literature to their children. Bush will fly to Sri Lanka."
Al Gore makes promises; George W. Bush create malapropisms.