....if he chooses to take it.
My fellow Americans:
I am appearing today to discuss some serious changes I am making, effective immediately, and for the last ten days of my campaign for president. I appreciate Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and other right-wing radio shows allowing this time for free advertising, as they have throughout the campaign, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I mean, come on – I have to spend whatever money we have left in our doomed effort to turn Pennsylvania red. What do you expect me to do, have a press conference?
Anyway, first things first. I have replaced Sarah Palin on the ticket with Mitt Romney. Yeah, I know, it’s late and such a move is considered political suicide, but, you know what?...she’s a joke. We got her a one-way ticket back to Alaska and put her on the plane this morning, and I’ve never felt more relieved. Her selection was the biggest mistake of my political career. Say what you want about the issues or whatever – serious people who care about this country and otherwise wanted to support me simply could not get over the fact that I chose someone so obviously dim and unqualified. I’m deeply sorry for putting the nation through that.
The thing is, we knew well before the convention that we were screwed. We didn’t have any chance in the world of winning this race as Republicans with Bush having screwed so many things up so much and with the party itself being so devoid of a clue. We thought we had to throw a Hail Mary pass to change the dynamic of the race and wake up our lethargic base. My former campaign staff – yes, they are all gone, too – told me some stuff about her and I signed off on it even before they put me on the phone with her. After finding out about her Troopergate scandal, I started to wonder. Then, every time she opened her mouth, I thought, you know, what the heck is going on here? I sat there and grinned and pretended she was alright, but she wasn’t. She’s outta here.
So, now Mitt Romney is my running mate (yes, Palin is on all the ballots – we’ll get the 2000 Florida legal team together and fix that later, if we have to). And, yeah, I know Romney is an insufferable dick – really, you don’t know the half of it. But, with the weak talent pool we have in the GOP, he’s the best we can do, believe it or not. Who else is there – Giuliani? Give me a break. Besides, Romney has been waiting by the phone for this very call for the last two months, poor guy. I mean, at least he has a history of being able to work with Democrats when he has to -- and we'll have to. As for everything else, he’s more than pliable. He’s so hot for national attention and adulation, he’ll do anything I say or I’ll have the Secret Service steal his magic underpants.
I am also announcing today that I will not run for reelection if I win this time. In other words, I will be a one-term president. That’s what I was always thinking, anyway. With my age (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the trail has been brutal!) and the mess we’ll have to clean up, I’ll be more effective if we can just pick up the pieces and work with the Democrats in Congress to get this nation back on track. I’ll be a caretaker president, without much of a political party to keep happy and only the good of the country to be concerned about. Make no mistake – I will sign a lot of the bills that make it through Congress; Democratic bills that make sense for the nation. You want maverick? I’ll give you a damn maverick in the White House, if you give me that chance.
My friends, I lost my way back in April when I won the Republican nomination, signed up with a Karl Rove disciple and took that long journey to the dark side of my soul. In the process, I lost many friends, my self-respect and my hard-earned honor. When Colin Powell made his eloquent endorsement of my opponent this past weekend, it broke my heart, not because of our friendship, but because he was right. Looking back at the absurd things I have asked you to swallow in this campaign – Sarah Palin, the hysterical attempt to cancel the first debate, our disgraceful smearing of Senator Obama with William Ayers and wild claims of socialism – I might not have voted for that guy, either. I can only hope that, as I try to recover a measure of my dignity, I can also recover my status as a serious person in Washington, a place where great things can and must happen in the next several years.
Senator Barack Obama is an extraordinary talent and has the potential to be a transformational figure in American history. Regardless of my smirking, pacing and eye-rolling in the debates, I have been honored to share the stage with him during this campaign. Frankly, I was thinking of just bagging the whole thing and asking the American people to elect him by affirmation, just to give him a running start at the dire problems we face at all levels. But I do think I would be a moderately better president in some areas, such as national security, so I figured I’d at least give people a choice.
But, make no mistake, my friends: if I happen to pull this off, the first person I will consult about the getting the nation out of this mess will be Barack Obama. Unlike my campaign, which has had no plan for anything and just spent five months trying to tear down an honorable opponent, Senator Obama actually has a broad, well-thought-out plan to rebuild the economy and get this country going again. I will work with him as closely as he will with me, even if it is only working with him from his position as senator. And, despite my disgraceful and unwarranted attacks on his character and motives, I hope he will bring me in if he wins, and allows me to take part in that historic moment.
My friends, I know that I’ve just announced some fairly dramatic, if not historic, developments in my campaign. I wouldn’t blame you if you thought this speech is just another stunt in a campaign that has lurched from one head-slapping moment to another. Actually, you wouldn’t be that far wrong. But these are changes I felt I had to make. I would rather lose while trying to claw my way back to respectability than take the increasingly remote chance of winning with an ugly, divisive message and a grossly unqualified vice president.
Thank you, and God bless America.