Big debate comeback for Bush

By Mark Follman
Published October 20, 2004 9:26PM (EDT)

Breaking news, courtesy of Andy Borowitz:


Kerry Not Notified of Time, Place

President George W. Bush notched his first debate victory early Sunday morning, winning handily in a fourth presidential debate that was kept secret from his Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass).

The debate, which was held at 2 AM Sunday morning in the basement of the White House and moderated by Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly, was a must-win affair in the eyes of the Bush campaign strategists who planned it.

"We knew that we needed to win at least one debate going into November," said Bush strategist Karl Rove. "Mission accomplished."

While aides to Sen. Kerry complained that the debate did not count since Mr. Kerry was kept totally in the dark about its time and place, Mr. Rove said, "They can spin this any way they want, but a win is a win."

The White House today released a videotape of the president's triumphal fourth debate, showing Mr. Bush gesturing towards an empty podium with Mr. Kerry nowhere in sight.

"Looks like my opponent didn't make it today," a smirking Mr. Bush says on the tape. "I guess he must be back in Massachusetts, busy being a liberal and such."

Four minutes into the debate, Mr. O'Reilly declares Mr. Bush the winner and abruptly excuses himself, saying, "I've got a few phone calls to make."

Elsewhere, television station owner Sinclair Broadcasting found itself at the center of yet another controversy today after it ordered all of its affiliates to broadcast a film entitled "John Kerry: Portrait of a Serial Killer."

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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