At a press conference today, President Barack Obama shocked reporters when he said he might not run for a second term because he lacks fire in the belly. He hinted this might be attributable to the fact that his mother-in-law no longer cooks for the family.
In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie also said he lacks fire in the belly. His explanation was that it had become impossible to light his belly without resort to a significant quantity of flammable substances, a fact that would likely prove counterproductive in a heated debate.
Former Governor Mike Huckabee, who has already declared himself out of the race, said he was relieved he lacked the required fire in the belly: "Fire is the symbol of Satan, and I'm not willing to dance with the Devil at my inauguration, especially because he'd want to lead."
Mitt Romney, who has given mixed signals about running for President, acknowledged that while he had once declared he had fire in the belly, it was because he had not appreciated the dangers posed by fire. "Fire can burn people, driving them to seek help at a health facility at state expense. Is that what government ought to be doing? I just don't know."
Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi has also taken himself out of the race and, like the others, has attributed his decision to the absence of fire in his belly: "The people of Mississippi did not elect me to appropriate to myself the fire resources of this state. Down here, fire is used for one thing and one thing only, and that's to verify that people are qualified to vote."
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is reported to have said on Fox News that she has the essential fire in her belly, but on examining a transcript of the interview, it appears that Palin actually said she has fire on her belly, a rash she picked up after brushing against a poison ivy plant while hunting moose in a bikini.
Representative Michelle Bachmann has not declared that she has the essential fire in the belly, but the spontaneous combustion of her head at a recent Tea Party rally suggests she may be on the cusp of an announcement.
Flamboyant developer and television personality, Donald Trump, said that if he'd wanted to run for President he could have gotten fire in the belly with a single phone call to his friend David Berkowitz, sometimes known as "Son of Sam," a serial killer who began his career as an arsonist.
Although former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has announced he is running for President, his comment that "It could have gone the other way," suggests he may have recently-ignited charcoal briquettes rather than fire in his belly.
In contrast to these withdrawals, equivocations and expressions of uncertainty, there is one man, Newt Gingrich, who has stated unequivocally that he has every quality needed in the battle to become the next President.
When asked by reporters whether he has fire in his belly, Gingrich replied: "I think I've demonstrated by my words and conduct that I have what it takes to run for the highest office in the land. When pressed by reporters on the fire-in-the-belly question, the thrice-married Congressman said:
"While I believe I have all the fire in my belly that I need, I think that issue has been overemphasized. I have something else that no other candidate or potential candidate in this race can claim..."
"Love in my tummy."