With his chances to survive the presidential contest at stake in the first debate this Wednesday, Mitt Romney has repaired to an undisclosed mansion to rehearse his answers to moderator Jim Lehrer's toughest questions.
In a scoop rivaling the exposure of Romney's disdain for 47 percent of Americans, Mother Goose magazine is about to release a grainy video which may or may not be from a Romney debate prep session. The source who shot the video insisted on anonymity, fearing charges of hypocrisy because even though he doesn't pay any income tax, he still sometimes uses public roads to get from one place to another.
A few snippets:
Q. Governor Romney, you've said that anyone who takes less than the legally allowable tax deductions isn't qualified to be president. Yet you did just that on your 2011 return. What's the deal?
A. F**k you for asking. I have three years to file an amended return and take the full deduction. I pledge here and now that I will do so, win or lose, the day after the election.
Q. Polls indicate that you've lost ground with voters since you dismissed 47 percent of them as government-dependent bums. Would you like to apologize to the American people here and now?
A. As I explained in my book No Apologies, I will never apologize for anything. (Mitt turns to Obama stand-in Rob Portman.) Mr. President, when will you apologize for apologizing for America throughout your extraordinarily disgraceful 'Apologize for America' tour? (Everyone in the room applauds this "game-changing" moment.)
Q. Governor, you wrote, "We can accomplish [the individual mandate you imposed in Massachusetts] for everyone in the country." But then you said you would repeal Obamacare, which depends on just such a mandate. What gives?
A. Obviously, Jim, I quoted myself out of context. I'm a man who has compassion; therefore I'm proud that I've provided all the kids and grandkids in one of my home states with government-guaranteed health insurance. And I will repeal Obamacare before lunch on my first day.
Q. But sir, under the Constitution the president doesn't have the power to repeal any law.
A. What part of "Constitutional Amendment" don't you understand? I'll sign one of those before breakfast.
Q. Do you think the government should have paid welfare benefits to your father for a full year even though he didn't work? Isn't that wealth redistribution?
A. To quote my good friend Herman Cain, "apples and oranges." When my dad was on welfare, people didn't have to work. Now they do. (Again, he turns to Obama.) Or I should say they did until you, Mr. President, gutted the work requirement.
Q. But the president didn't gut the work requirement.
A. He did too! And I have the campaign ads to prove it.
Q. After taking the full spectrum of positions on abortion, you promised "absolutely" that you would sign the so-called personhood amendment, which states that "life begins at conception" and would criminalize all abortions, including in cases of rape or incest. Would you jail women who've been raped?
A. Fertilized eggs are people, my friend. My position on abortion continues to evolve, so by definition there can't be any of what you people call "contradictions." (Air quotes)
Q. Peggy Noonan has suggested you might save the "rolling calamity" that is your campaign by bringing in James Baker, the man chiefly responsible for stealing the 2000 election for W.
A. Clearly, election theft is the nuclear option. We'll try to win without it, but we'd be crazy to take it off the table.
Q. Finally, Governor, the American people want to know more about you. You've expressed your affection for cars, trees, clouds, grass and America. What else do you love?
A. Well, of course, as you know, there's nothing like a great big block of American cheese followed by a heaping hunk of Boston cream pie. But I love foods from every corner of this great country of ours. I love California oranges (unless, of course, there's a Florida orange available, in which case, a must-win-state fruit takes precedence), Philadelphia cheese steaks, Iowa corn and items from all the other swing states. And by the way, when Anne feels like she's ready to strangle a reporter for posing an impudent question, she sneaks a Virginia Slim.