Audience members and television viewers of the debate between vice-presidential candidates were stunned Thursday night when an uninvited third candidate interrupted the event. Outcry on the social networks demanded that the intruder be removed, but the unsanctioned participant remained and reappeared throughout the evening.
Pundits agree that the new participant, quickly identified as The Smile, influenced the debate in unforeseen ways. More surprising even than the rogue candidate's ability to enter the debate hall was his bizarrely amused demeanor during discussions of grave topics.
Interviewed after the event, reporters asked The Smile whether a more serious comportment might have suited the occasion better than his apparently uncontrollable outbursts of hilarity. "Malarkey!" was the candidate's only response.
Although The Smile is clearly white -- very white, white to a nearly unbelievable extreme -- little else is known of his background or heritage. Despite a shining political career as a lifelong Dentocrat, few substantive achievements are attributed to The Smile, adding to the surprise of his late entrance in the election season.
Journalists are scrambling for facts about The Smile's position on crucial issues, such as whether he is ticklish, and his opinion of the YouTube video -- not the Muhammad one; the talking dog one.
By the debate's end, most observers concluded that The Smile was ideologically closer to Biden than Ryan, often taking advantage of the Vice President's silences to enter the argument. Soft-spoken to a fault, The Smile's biggest debate advantage seemed to be a jaunty contempt directed at his opponent.
Debate moderator Martha Raddatz ignored the unauthorized participant.
If Paul Ryan was unsettled by The Smile's near-constant gleaming presence and muffled commentary, he hid it effectively. However, he could not match The Smile's extensive mirthful repertoire of grins, disbelieving sneers, and half-stifled guffaws. Ryan opposed The Smile with his own facial weaponry, mainly consisting of a wan smirk and puppy-dog blue eyes that seemed to pour sincerity into the camera. But The Smile merely stretched wider to accommodate Ryan's attacks.
Is The Smile a viable candidate this late in the game? The answer depends on his aspirations. Is he after the VP spot, or the presidential seat? If the latter, the next step is a debate with the incumbent, Sullen Frown.