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by Jennifer Hampster, 4/28/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program Not to Be Believed. Last week Senator Sam Spleen momentarily emerged from hiding to make a statement about his disappearance. Now he has vanished again, but he remains the leading candidate for the presidential nomination in the Enough! Party.
His chief opponent, Governor Dick Burstyn, has too few delegates and now he has an even larger problems … the sudden spread of Spleen mania.
Jennifer Hampster reports.

(sfx: truck traffic)

Jennifer: Midnight at a truck stop on I-90, and Ken Dalrymple is making himself out to be a hero.

Ken: Oh, yeah, I seen him. Sure I did. He was in a bowling alley back in Albert Lea, havin' a beer. Little guy, gray hair. A kinda potato nose. I said, "Hey, you're Spleen." He said "Shush … it's our secret. And he gave me some of his campaign cash. Two hundred, no kidding. It was like finding a leprechaun.

Jennifer: Ken Dalrymple is only one of tens of thousands of Americans who say they've seen Senator Spleen in the last seven days. New sightings are being reported to local authorities by the hour.

Sgt. Nelson: I'd say we've had about 80 reports this evening. People have seen him at the laundromat, the gas station, playing mini-golf, the book store, the mall, grocery shopping and … sitting on top of a flag pole.

Jennifer: Did you follow up on that one?

Sgt. Nelson: We don't have the manpower. There's no bulletin out on him, no warrant. No reason to pick him up or even be looking for him. We've got other things to do.

Jennifer: (annc) Having "other things to do" has long been decried as a national dilemma for an overworked populace, and yet there are thousands of Americans who making the time to go searching for Senator Spleen.
"I've Seen Spleen" bumper stickers are spreading like wildfire across the national landscape, and "Senator Spleen Search Parties" can be found in just about any medium to large sized city on a Saturday night.

(sfx: party sounds)

Party Gal: I'm dressed as him. Graying hair. Dark suit. Red "power" tie.
A little paunch but still slim in the hips. Potato nose.

Jennifer: Everybody here is dressed that way. What's the point?

Party Gal: If he did want to show up someplace … this would be a comfortable spot, huh? I mean … if you're looking for him here, and he really IS here, he might as well not be anywhere, because you couldn't pick him out of this crowd.

(sfx: party sounds fade)

Jennifer: All of this leaves officials of the Spleen campaign somewhat bewildered, but grateful for the publicity. Campaign manager Rhonda Alonzo.

Rhonda: (phone) To have everyone in the country memorizing your candidate's face and keeping an eye out for him in a happy, fun way … it's every campaign manager's dream.
I love the bumper stickers. I love the search parties. Understand … he's not hiding and he's not missing. He doesn't NEED to be found, but if people want to do this for entertainment, that's OK with us. In fact, we're going to take 100 thousand of the campaign money and give it to the first person who finds the Senator.

Jennifer: Even though the Senator is not in hiding?

Rhonda: Which ought to make him easy to find, don't you think?

Jennifer: Isn't that an abuse of campaign funds?

Rhonda: What abuse? The money was raised to get attention for the candidate. And we've got attention, that's for sure.

Jennifer: And Spleenmania has apparently caught on with Hollywood too. Spin Williams is a west coast dealmaker.

Spin: I LOVE the way Spleen is being marketed.

Jennifer: Did you …?

Spin: Me? Involved in this marketing plan? No, not at all. Not in any way. I would run it just like this, of course. If I were involved. Which I'm not. It is a thing of beauty, though, isn't it?

Jennifer: Media dealmaker SpinWilliams, on the publicity frenzy surrounding Enough! Party presidential hopeful, Senator Sam Spleen.
I'm Jennifer Hampster.

Dc: And with me in the studio now is Governor Dick Burstyn, Senator Spleen's rival for the Enough! Party nomination. Governor … have you seen Spleen?

Burstyn: You know … this is all good fun to a point, then we have to stop for a moment and realize this fellow is being given a free ride. Nobody's asking tough questions about his record, his plans … nothing.
It's just "Where's Waldo," except in this case "Waldo" wants to be the leader of the free world. I'm sorry, but I find it chilling that the Senator has turned this campaign into a game of hide and seek.

Dc: Critics will say this is sour grapes. If you could get this kind of publicity … you would.

Burstyn: Any politician would. It's positive and uncritical. But eventually he's going to have to come out and debate the issues.

Dc: Why?

Burstyn: Why? Because it's not enough to be known. At some point you have to turn that name recognition into admiration. Love, even.
And you can't do that until people know you … really know who you are.
Or … THINK they know who you are. Either one is fine.

Dc: You have to become more than a name and a face.

Burstyn: That's right. People want to associate you with policies and values. You can't get there by hiding or making empty promises, or bribery or flattery or any of that shallow stuff.

Dc: Thanks, Governor. Governor Dick Burstyn is the primary challenger in the contest for President in the Enough! Party.

Burstyn: By the way, I think you're great, would you like a free lunch? One of my corporate sponsors is putting on a spread for two thousand!

Dc: I'm busy right now, but thanks.

Burstyn: We'll send over a runner with a plate for you. Don't mention it.

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