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by Wendy Vapors, 2/18/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program that's reality free.
In the Enough! Party, the gap is beginning to narrow between Senator Sam Spleen and Governor Dick Burstyn.
The candidates have agreed to extreme disclosure, revealing all their financial relationships and wearing so many insignias on their clothing they look more like race car drivers than candidates.
Throughout the campaign it's been thought that Spleen had better brands than Burstyn, but last week Burstyn surprised analysts by cutting a deal with Prairie Patty's Buffalo Burgers. Now both candidates have fast food partners, and while Spleen is allied to the much larger and more popular Lunar Burgers chain, Burstyn's decision to run with the buffalo is beginning to pay off. Wendy Vapors reports.

Wendy: As quickly as you can say "special order," Governor Dick Burstyn's campaign for the presidential nomination in the Enough! Party has begun to close the gap with Senator Sam Spleen.
At campaign stops around the midwest, Burstyn has been downright gleeful.

(sfx: applause up)

Burstyn: Thank you, thank you. I think people are finally beginning to see that I am the candidate of ideas, I am the candidate of principles, values and character, and I am the candidate of lunch! Plains Patty's has put out a terrific Buffalo Burger feast for us ... let's eat! (fade) I'm serving ... line up here! Now ... who wants relish?

(sfx: crowd up and down)

Wendy: At each rally, Burstyn dons a chef's hat and invites the crowd to have a free meal, courtesy of his financial sponsor, Plains Patty's. The technique appears to be working, as the crowds on the Burstyn circuit have been growing, while Senator Spleen's following appears to be holding steady or declining.
Early this week on the political insider TV show "Berate the Press," Spleen played down the apparent change in fortunes.

Spleen: They say there's no such thing as a free lunch. I believe that.
My opponent is trying to send a different message by feeding buffalo meat to the voters, but it's going to taste like baloney after a while, when they take a good look at what he stands for.

Pundits: (hubub)

Pundit 1: Be that as it may, Senator ... (chuckling) you have to admit it hurts when your opponent has the voters literally eating out of his hand!

Spleen: But where have those hands been?

Pundit 2: What do you mean by that?

Spleen: Whose pockets has he been digging in?

Pundits: (hubub)

Pundit 3: What about yourself? A list of your donors reveals some pretty deep pockets that ...

Spleen: (backpedaling) That's not what I'm saying. What I mean is ... um ... a candidate touches a lot of people on the campaign trail. And then to serve the burgers ... it could be a sanitary question ... to my mind.

Wendy: Still, the Burstyn rallies are getting rave reviews and playing to enthusiastic crowds.

(sfx: crowd hubub up)

Ordinary Citizen #1: I don't like politics. And I don't care all that much for hamburgers. But this buffalo burger ... it's just different enough.

Ordinary Citizen #2: I went to a Spleen rally and they gave me diddly squat! I was surprised. I thought he had a lot of big money behind him.

Ordinary Citizen #3: It wasn't too gamey. That's a surprise.

Wendy: But do you feel like your vote is being bought?

Ordinary Citizen #3: Well, sure! But ... I feel like I'm getting a decent return. The whole family's here. At Lunar Burgers, this would be $15, minimum.

(sfx: crowd down)

Wendy: Meanwhile, at Senator Spleen's rallies, the new development in the Burstyn campaign has not gone unnoticed by the hungry throngs.

(sfx: larger crowd up)

Spleen: (fade up) ... and I say to you my friends that history will remember what we did with this opportunity! History will decide if we were selfish, or if we served! I want to be remembered as a servant! A public servant! An attentive servant! A servant who listened.

Crowd: (chant) Serve lunch! Serve lunch! Serve lunch!

Spleen: Now just a minute. Hang on here. You know there's no such thing as free lunch! (chuckling nervously) Now people, let's be serious. My opponent has much smaller crowds.

(sfx: crowd fade out)

Wendy: The Spleen campaign is playing down the significance of this trend, but political analyst Marie Anthony thinks it could have startling implications.

Marie: A big part of any campaign is feeding the press. Every day. Feed them the issue of the day, which they feed the public, and feed them food too. Well, now the public wants the food and they couldn't care less about the issues. If Senator Spleen doesn't recognize that and act on it, he could pay a price in the long run.

Wendy: Where will it all end?

Marie: It could come down to who has the best fries. Or ... and this is kinda scary ... what if they start to ask for cake? Do you let them eat it, or not?

Wendy: So far, Lunar Burgers has not commented publicly on the escalating campaign food wars, but reliable sources portray the company as "watchful" and "concerned."
It seems that Governor Burstyn's alliance with Plains Patty's Buffalo Burgers has "upped the ante" in the Enough! Party campaign ... so much so that no one can tell where this is going to end, or whose plate will be full, and whose will come up ... empty. I'm Wendy Vapors, and I'm reporting.

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