Generations of American schoolchildren were told that George Washington chopped down his father's cherry tree, and that when confronted he answered: "I cannot tell a lie, Father. I did it." We now know this story isn't true, and that Presidents (and future Presidents) do lie - about sex, drinking, the National Guard, and reasons for war.
For this Presidents' Day, though, let's pretend it's true. Better yet - let's imagine what would happen if some of today's leaders had chopped down that cherry tree, only to be confronted by their angry father. What would they say? Let's listen in ...
HILLARY CLINTON: I didn't want to chop down the cherry tree. I think it was a mistake to chop down the cherry tree. I only did it to prove I'm as tough as my opponent. But now that we've begun, we've got to chop down all the cherry trees.
GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm not listening to you, Father. I answer to a higher father. He says I can do whatever I want. So I chopped down the cherry tree. And you know what the cherry tree said to me? (smirking) "Please don't kill me!"
BILL O'REILLY: You know, you make me sick. I think the terrorists should destroy all your cherry trees.
COLIN POWELL: I have here, Father, the photographic evidence that the cherry tree was actually being used to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.
DON RUMSFELD: Life is messy. Cherry trees are messy. I'm messy. I'm babbling, aren't I?
CONDOLLEEZA RICE: If I hadn't chopped down the cherry tree it would've turned into a mushroom cloud. I know you told me not to do it, but your warning was purely historical in nature.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Destroying your cherry tree was just a great way to blow off steam. I have a fantasy that I'm a cherry tree and Lynndie England chops me down. Oooh, man ... my head is spinning. I'm floating.
KEN MEHLMAN: Having completely destroyed your cherry tree, Father, I would urge you not to give that gardening job to my brother. Why? Because he's no good at protecting cherry trees.
JOHN MURTHA: I did it and it was wrong. I won't do it again, Sir.
JOE BIDEN: Murtha doesn't speak for the rest of us. Maybe he "cannot tell a lie," but the rest of us want to be President!
JOHN McCAIN: Murtha is senile. Hey, you press guys gonna run with the cherry tree story? Remember, nobody gets to take credit for chopping down the cherry tree but me. I'll give you an exclusive interview about it. I'm a straight talking guy - the kind of straight-talking guy who'll just chop down a cherry tree. Chopping down cherry trees is tragic, but when it's got to be done it's got to be done. I'm a maverick who'll oppose the President about chopping down cherry trees, but if I were President I'd do the same thing. Did I mention I'm a straight talking guy? No, I can't calm down! Want to do a profile on me?
EVAN BAYH: I don't think these other guys are chopping down enough cherry trees.
CHUCK HAGEL: If Cheney had been in the 4H, he'd know how to handle an ax as well as I do.
HUGH HEWITT: You're a liar! I don't believe you ever had a cherry tree. Why don't you give me the name of six independent witnesses who saw the cherry tree and maybe I'll talk to you then.
PAT ROBERTSON: Losing your cherry tree was God's punishment for your sinful ways. And for not giving me all the candy I want.
HILLARY CLINTON (again): Let's be clear. I only authorized someone else to chop down the cherry tree. I didn't really think he'd chop it down. It's not my fault.
BILL CLINTON: They've badly mishandled the way they chopped down the cherry tree. I would have chopped it down, too. But with less strokes.
DICK CHENEY: Go fuck yourself.
CHERRY TREE: I'm sorry I got in your way, Master Dick.
Happy President's Day, fellow Americans!