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SULLEN GARFIELD
by Wendy Vapors, 11/05/99

DC: The Presidential election is a year away ... and yet there is already discussion ... serious discussion, about the candidates and their temperaments. Rumors surfaced this week that in spite of his great fundraising and famous family ties, presidential great grandson Gary Garfield might be "too moody" to hold the office.
Wendy Vapors reports ...

(music: sad violin, establish and under)

Wendy: When Gary Garfield gets out his violin, people listen.

Gary: Maybe it's true what they say about me ... that I'm too sullen to be your president.

(sfx: crowd - no! no!)

Well ... now ... wait a minute. They say the president should be an optimist. Upbeat. Cheeful. Reagan was like that. He was a great president!

(sfx: light applause)

But you know ... we can't all be happy. Sometimes we're a bit down in the dumps. Now ... I'm not talking about depression. Depression is serious.
I'm talking about being ... a little morose. Dispirited.
I know when I hear that I'm too glum to get elected ... it gets me down. But ... then it occurred to me that glum Americans are Americans too! Aren't we?

(sfx: more applause)

I think we are! And so I say to you today ... I AM GLUM!

(sfx: more applause)

I AM GLUM, and PROUD!

(sfx: applause out)
(music: violin continues)

Wendy: The Garfield campaign's admission that their candidate is sometimes gloomy may be a gamble in the eyes of seasoned political hands, but Betsy Tacy , Garfield campaign managers, says it makes perfect sense.

Betsy: (perky) Gary is representing a lot of people who have NOT been going to the polls because they're too down! It's the "what for?" vote! It's a huge part of the electorate just waiting to be tapped. Gary is giving them a voice just by being himself and saying the things he says.

(sfx: applause up and down)

Gary: We know what it means to see things ... negatively! In the least flattering light! That's part of being glum. And isn't that what we really want in a president? A "Worst Case Scenario" type of person?
I can assure you of this - If I'm your president and things go to hell in a hand basket ... I Won't Be Surprised. Not One Bit! Because I'm Glum!

(sfx: applause up and down)

Wendy: I asked National Mood expert Bo Thibedeau if the Gary Garfield candidacy represented something larger in the electorate.

Bo: An increasing realism ... as people buy into the idea that negativity equals reality. Anything optimistic and hopeful they automatically assume is wishful thinking ... an example of a falsely sunny, pollyanna - like nonsense. The darker it is, the more true, the more real. Garfield is tapping into that, and it's paying off for him.

Wendy: (int) But do people really want this sort of sulking high school personality in the White House?

Bo: Don't sell Gary Garfield short. He's much more than a sulking high schooler. He's a sulking adult. And that's a big difference! Being a sulking high schooler is a phase! Being a sulking adult ... that's permanent! And if he can get those other sulking adults out to vote for him ... he's got a real shot at winning!

Betsy: (perky) When Gary first approached me and said he wanted me to work on his campaign because he didn't think I would "screw it up too much," I thought, "wow, what a loser." But now that I've spent a lot of time with him and I've seen the way people respond to his message and his whole ... presence. ... I think we have a chance!
This is refreshing to a lot of people. Gary reminds them of themselves, or people they know.

Wendy: I asked Gary Garfield if he thought his campaign was "striking a chord" with the American people.

Gary: Oh, I don't know. Maybe. We probably won't get beat too bad.

Wendy: What if you WIN?

Gary: Oh ... we ARE gonna win. America deserves a president like me. Really kinda ... negative. The question you should be asking is ... "is this a good thing?"

Wendy: IS this a good thing?

Gary: I don't know. Probably not. That's why it's going to happen. Then we'll just have to deal with it. I know I will.

Wendy: (annc) Privately, Gary Garfield admits that his presidency won't be the worst thing the nation has endured, but that it's something he can't say in public.

Gary: (a bit off mic) Anti-optimism is kinda my thing. I've gotta stay on message. This bit about expecting the worst so the best will be a pleasant surprise if it happens ... people have lived their lives that way for eons. It's an extension of the private and personal into the public arena.

Wendy: So you don't really feel that way?

Gary: Which way?

Wendy: So sullen?

Gary: Personally ... I think the best is yet to come. The future looks great for this country ... but if I say that ... it goes against the message.
I'm keeping it under wraps.
Just my luck, you're probably running a secret tape recorder on me now. Wouldn't that just be the nuts? But par for the course, you know?

Wendy: When I played the tape back for them, officials of the Garfield campaign at first had no comment, but then issued this statement an hour later. "Mr. Garfield is disappointed that he was recorded in secret, but hardly surprised. 'I have occasionally slipped into an optimistic frame of mind,' he said in a prepared statement. I have recognized it and have taken steps to deal with it. Anybody who knows me and my family knows that cynicism and negativity are in our blood, and we will always be guided by these principles.' Whether that is enough for Gary Garfield to be elected almost one year from now ... remains to be seen.
I'm Wendy Vapors, and I'm reporting.

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