For the past 14 years, Greg Clugston, a reporter for Salem Radio Network (SRN) News, has written and performed a Christmas poem for the White House Press Corps based on Clement Clarke Moore's classic "A Visit from St. Nicholas". The reading is usually a press-only affair, but this year, in an unprecedented display of a holiday spirit and a little sense of humor, White House Press Secretary (Jay Carney) attended.
This year's poem ticked off many of the year's major political stories, including dismal unemployment figures, the debt ceiling fight, the Solyndra scandal and the President's ending of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Clugston generally keeps it light, however, as when the Republican presidential candidates stumble onto the South Lawn to hold another debate.
But the highlight of the poem each year is the ending, as White House denizens wait expectantly for Santa to appear, only to have their Christmas crashed by a potent political figure. In 2006, President George W. Bush delivered the final Christmas message: "Merry Christmas to all! I'm the decider!" Last year, it was Bill Clinton who intoned, "Merry Christmas to all! Let's stop the shellacking!" This year, that honor was given to Herman Cain, who makes a delightful, sleigh-bound appearance as a "pizza delivery guy." You can read his Christmas message, and the full poem, below.
'Twas the night before Christmas and in the White House,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes a payroll tax cut soon would be there.
There were holiday treats, made of veggies and grain,
No sugar allowed in the anti-obesity campaign.
The president was sleeping -- all snug in his bed,
As low unemployment numbers danced in his head.
He dreamed of the year, with its wheeling and dealing,
And the fight over raising the nation's debt ceiling.
A "grand bargain" emerged in secret talks with the Speaker,
But the president settled for a deal far weaker.
An agreement was reached, despite one glaring hitch,
It resembled a "sugar-coated Satan sandwich."
The president reveled in ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell,"
But questions about Solyndra proved tough to quell.
And then there were charges Obama thought spurious,
Related to the operation known as "Fast and Furious."
With an eye toward the election, he would step up his game
Against GOP challengers -- and he called them by name:
"Now Romney! Now Perry! Now Herman and Bachmann!
On, Gingrich! On, Paul! Santorum and Huntsman!
Your ideas are flawed, your policies I question,
All of your tax cuts would lead to recession.
I'm sure I can beat you in states blue and red,
Thanks to the raid that shot Bin Laden dead."
Suddenly, on the South Lawn, there arose such a clatter,
Obama looked up to see what was the matter.
Republicans had arrived through the Southwest gate,
For yet another presidential debate.
They stood in a line, saluting our troops,
While Perry listed agencies: one, two, uh, oops.
Gingrich bashed the press, his disdain clearly showed;
Romney kept smiling, hoping Newt would implode.
Then what, to wondering eyes, came out of the sky?
But a tiny sleigh with a pizza delivery guy.
The driver was dynamic, a broad smile on his face,
Selling his books and singing "Amazing Grace."
It was one-time candidate Herman Cain,
But his time in the spotlight created great pain.
And I heard him exclaim, perhaps for the last time:
"Merry Christmas to all! Don't forget 9-9-9!"
This year's poem was first posted on the website MediaBistro.