"Howdy, Oprah. The folks in Texas all love you, even after that mad cow thing."
"Ditto from Tennessee, Oprah. It's nice to be back on a program where a regular guy like me can talk about his vision for America, and also wear casual clothes."
"Let's start with a typical softball question. Which of you would be a nicer president? You first, Governor Bush."
"Well, Oprah, right there I have the edge. You'll notice that I gave you a big, fat kiss when we met on the show, and Al here only gave you a handshake."
"Wait a minute, George. I resent that. I was only trying not to come off like a male chauvinist ? although I've worked very hard to get rid of that wimpy, androgynous image I used to have, and I'm very comfortable as an alpha male. In fact ? Oprah, pucker up."
"Wait! First, let me ask why anyone should elect either of you. Al, you've been running for so long we all want to scream, and George, you seem about as deep as a dinner plate."
"Well, Oprah, that's why I told you I stopped drinking a few years ago ? to prove that I've faced some tough challenges, not just grown up as a well-connected rich kid. Plus, I'm still trying to live down that incident where I didn't even know the mic was on. Imagine how bad things would be if I were still boozing."
"Good point. What about you, Al?"
"Oprah, I've started drinking. That's right! I'm really throwing 'em back on the campaign trail now! There's nothing stodgy or dull about me. I'm a real party animal. Let's do a shooter. And speaking of shooters, I wonder if George is carrying any concealed weapons."
"I already explained that! I thought they said congealed weapons. You know, like when they get so sticky they won't fire. But Al probably didn't hear that because he was taking checks at some Buddhist temple."
"At least I didn't make any speeches to a lot of racist, anti-Catholic right-wingers at Bob Jones University."
"At least my speeches aren't written by a bunch of handlers and consultants who tell me what to say."
"I'm a virile guy who understands the issues. Let's talk about reforming Medicare, and then I want to arm wrestle."
"Before we get to that, Mr. Gore here is 12 points ahead in the polls, and Newsweek said that Mr. Bush's campaign 'seems to be run from a cigar box in the back of the old family store.' Governor, what about that?"
"Oprah, can I use a lifeline like they do on that Millionaire show? This'd be a good time to talk to my dad. "
"All right. AT&T will take a break from calling people during dinner and connect us right now. ... Former president Bush, can you hear me?"
"Crisp as a pork rind, Oprah! How are ya? I read all those selections from your book club, even the dumb ones."
"Thank you. How's Mrs. Bush?"
"Why, she's right here on the extension. Babs, pick up! It's Oprah."
"Oprah! We love you here in Texas, even after that mad cow thing."
"Thank you. Folks, they're telling me we have another special guest on the phone. It's our current outgoing president, Bill Clinton."
"Hello there, Oprah! I just called to remind everyone that there were no charges brought against me and Hillary this week in the Whitewater case. Absolutely none. Nada. And I pledge that by the time Al's second term as president comes around, we'll have beaten the rap on a lot of the other stuff, too. Now, I've got to get some golf in. So long."
"Thank you, sir. Let's take a break, and we'll come back with a few tough fashion questions for the candidates. And remember next week we'll have Ralph Nader and Harry Browne on the show to talk about why the system's crooked, and then I'll be performing a TV first ? a live exorcism on Pat Buchanan. Don't go away."
Copyright 2000 by Garry Lee Wright. All rights reserved. GLW's on WGN (AM radio 720) Chicago. Listen, email, and check out News Junkie columns at wgnradio.com.