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The D'Annunzio-Johnson debate we were denied 

It was a sad day for fans of democracy and three-ring circuses when Tim D'Annunzio pulled out of a planned debate with fellow 8th District congressional candidate Harold Johnson. It's not often that area voters get to see two such eminently qualified candidates debate their differences. Luckily, this reporter, along with friend Jose Cuervo, found a slightly used crystal ball, and we were able to view the debate as it could have happened. Following are excerpts from the debate, which was moderated by TV newscaster Jimmy Trifle.

Moderator J. Trifle: Welcome, gentlemen, let's get right to it. First, we'd like for each of you to reply to the widespread criticisms that have dominated your campaigns. First, Mr. D'Annunzio. Critics claim that your views are way out of the mainstream ...

TD: They're all in this together! The press, the Republican establishment, my know-nothing opponent, they're all in collusion, and that's why I'm suing all of 'em.

Mod: Mr. D'Annunzio, please let me finish the question ... Now, critics say you're out of the mainstream, and, as proof, they point to your plan to basically dismantle the federal government; they mention your "Machine Gun Social" fundraisers that let supporters pay to fire submachine guns; and the time you stormed out of a debate. They also say it's extreme to claim, as you did, that your campaign is fighting a "war to the death" against "The wicked Liberal Leftist Socialist Democrats and their beast in the news media that want to destroy you." Do you care to comment?

TD: It's simple, Jimmy. They don't want a Christian patriot in Congress, 'cause they know I'd run off all the socialists! But I'm telling you, they're the ones who'll be sorry when I get through with 'em.

Mod: Now, Mr. Johnson, your critics say you're not up on the issues, that you haven't been willing to debate, that your only qualification for office is your fame as a former TV sportscaster, and that you aren't a true resident of your district since you moved there specifically to run for Congress. How do you respond to those charges?

HJ: Thanks, Jimmy. I respond to those charges the way I always have: with a chipper attitude and a smile on my face. All the fans, uh, voters who know me from my sportscasting days know that I'm a positive, can-do kind of guy, and that's the attitude I'll take with me to Congress to represent the interests of the wonderful folks in District 8. "Not up on the issues"? That's a laugh. I'll just direct viewers to my website, where they'll find out just how knowledgeable I am on all the issues. I don't want to get down in the gutter with my critics, such as Mr. D'Annunzio's campaign referring to me with a dirty joke.

TD: That's another evil lie!

[All talking at once] HJ: Do you deny you've been calling me "Hairy Johnson"? ... TD: You wish, you wicked little airhead ... Mod: Gentlemen, please let's keep it civil.

HJ: Tim doesn't know anything about "civil," Jimmy. I guess that's why he spent part of his youth in prison or shooting up heroin.

TD: You son of a bitching liberal elitist!

Mod: Gentlemen, please! Mr. D'Annunzio, can you please get back behind your podium? There's no need to act aggressively.

TD: Whyyy, I oughta ...

HJ: You know, my people tell me that if I come across as competent and not crazy, I'll beat this loon to a pulp. So I don't want to engage in personal attacks. I'd rather talk to my fans, um, the voters about my plans to save the economy. You see, it's like when a football team is in trouble. You get back to basics -- that's where cutting taxes and balancing the budget comes in. You attack the opponent -- excess spending -- by launching some long bombs, maybe a balanced budget amendment or something. And then, when it's fourth and goal -- in other words, when it looks like the liberals are gonna win -- the voters give the ball to the running back they trust to bring them victory. That's me, the Big Guy!

Mod: Mr. D'Annunzio, any reaction?

TD: What a load of hogwash. If Mr. Johnson cares so much for the voters of District 8, why did he just recently move there? Plus, somebody who's part of the liberal media talking about balancing the budget is a joke. I'm telling you, just as sure as a 1,000-feet-high pyramid will descend on Greenland, Harry -- I mean, Mr. Johnson -- will play footsies in Washington with the evil forces that want to destroy America. I say it's time to stand up to Satan and his minions in D.C. That's why voters should elect me to Congress.

Mod: Mr. Johnson?

HJ: I think the voters can best determine which of us is the stable, common-sense candidate, and they'll elect me to Congress instead of a head case with a criminal record.

[D'Annunzio lunges toward Johnson and has to be held back by studio technicians.]

Mod: That's all the time we have, gentlemen. Thanks for this enlightening exchange of ideas ...

[Picture goes blank, and the sounds of a fight and breaking furniture are all that remain.]

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