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Monday January 22, 2001

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Bush a boon for comedians

By Shaun Clayton

Arizona Daily Wildcat

George W. Bush is now the president of the United States, and material could not be better for our nation's comedians. If the blunders and foul-ups present in Bush's election campaign continue throughout his presidency, comic writers will never be short of material.

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream," Bush is quoted as saying in October 2000 by the Associated Press. Indeed, in Bush's family, decisions do make wings "take dream."

Former President George Bush Sr. helped Dan Quayle "take dream" when he made him vice president. Quayle then went on to embarrass himself further by adding that now-famous "e" to the word "potato." Now, with Bush in the White House, it is almost as if Dan Quayle had been elected president.

For another example of Bush's ability to create comic moments, look no further than the "RATS" campaign ad. During the election, Bush's campaign funded an ad in which the word "RATS" flashed across the screen for a split second in reference to a prescription drug proposal by Al Gore.

This, of course, created some controversy, and later, while being interviewed by ABC's Diane Sawyer about the ad, Bush referred to the controversial word in the ad as "subliminable" rather than "subliminal."

Contrary to popular opinion, people do occasionally mispronounce words from time-to-time time. Had Bush only flubbed up once, it would have been ignored. However, Bush then proceeded to mispronounce "subliminal" as "subliminable" four more times.

Imagine the possibilities. There are several million words in the English language, each one of them a potential land mine for Bush to step on. Words like, "economical," "justifiable" and "incomprehensible" could become "economicable," "justifiabable" and "imopromensomeimgrgrm."

An example of Bush's personal conduct lending comic relief occurred on television in September. Bush, while campaigning in Illinois, pointed out Adam Clymer, a reporter from a major newspaper, and said to running mate Dick Cheney, "There is Adam Clymer - major league asshole from the New York Times over there."

Apparently he was unaware that the microphone at the podium was still on. Surely, if he makes a mistake like that again, writers will jump from their comfortable positions in front of the television to resume their crouched-over positions at their word processors and type like madmen.

What an amazing gift given to our nation's comic writers - if the next four years are anything like this past one, comedians everywhere might just start voting Republican.