Fake News: Oval office not first choice for speech

WASHINGTON (June 21) — Stung by criticism of last week’s Oval Office address, with many pundits saying President Obama looked awkward behind the majestic executive desk, the White House released a transcript of an alternative, more casual speech he considered delivering from historic mansion’s first-floor bathroom.

“We knew it was a risk to use the Oval Office as a backdrop to talk about the oil spill,” said administration spokesperson Heath Anderson. “In retrospect, using a different room may have conveyed more of the tone we intended.”

The president had already spoken on several occasions about the massive gulf disaster from the Rose Garden, the Blue Room, the East Room and the press office. That the chief executive’s private bathroom was considered as a setting for an address to the nation shows how close the administration came to averting the largely negative reaction to last Tuesday’s televised talk.

The speech itself would’ve been as different as the staging, according to a draft released Monday. The 20-minute address, shown during prime time on all the major television networks, would’ve begun with a disembodied hand knocking on a closed door, and the rest of the presidential speech shouted through that door.

“Someone’s in here,” Obama says in his opening remarks, indicating that the federal government is on the job of mitigating the spill and determining who was responsible.

“I’ll be done in just a minute,” the president continues, optimistic that the deep-sea gusher can soon be stopped and clean-up can begin in earnest.

A rustling sound follows for about 30 seconds, meant to represent how intense the executive branch’s response has been to the catastrophe. A mumbled “there’s another bathroom just down the hall” is followed by the assertion that “I’ll be right out” and “Hang on, I’m almost through in here.”

“He’s asking the American people for patience,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs. “These quick bursts of decisive language would show he’s a president in charge of the situation. It displays an urgency to bring this sad episode to a quick and clean conclusion.”

After the camera continues focusing on the closed door for another 45 seconds, the voice from inside asks “can you find me some paper?”, hinting at Obama’s plan to use environmentally friendly products like tissue paper to gather up the crude now soaking Gulf coast beaches.

“We have a plan in place to make a full recovery,” the president continues from inside the ornate Oval Bathroom, constructed during the Hoover administration. “My team will not be caught with its pants down. I know there’s a spill, and I take complete responsibility for cleaning it up.”

At this point in the speech, Obama is heard to say “oh darn, the fan is broken,” an apparent reference to how some of the efforts to keep oil out of Louisiana marshlands failed when equipment there malfunctioned. Soon, the sound of a match being struck shows the president’s intention that efforts at recovery will be visible to the American public.

With the sound of flushing water from behind the door, the president indicates how levels of petroleum will soon be decreasing while the seawater is lifted by twice-daily tides to overtake the remnants of the spill.

At one point, Obama is heard shouting “Uh-oh, the water keeps rising!” which is followed by brief splashing sounds and muttered epithets of disapproval from the nation’s forty-fourth chief executive.

“Where the hell is the plunger?” he is heard to ask, calling on BP executives to offer more assistance in the recovery effort. Then, he reports, “oh, good, it’s going back down,” an apparent reference to outstanding financial claims made by fishermen and the tourist industry against the London-based energy company.

The address ends with Obama opening the door to emerge from the bathroom. He is flanked by an American flag towel on his left and an Office of the President towel to his right, the latter obviously soaked with water. Also seen over his shoulder are two small framed photos, one showing a heron wading in the surf and another portraying a variety of seashells.

“I told you I’d be done pretty quickly,” the smiling president tells a reassured nation, then adds “it’s all yours” to point out that the bathroom is now vacant and ready for another user.

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One Response to “Fake News: Oval office not first choice for speech”

  1. Paul Dixon Says:

    Three anecdotes spring to mind:

    In real life, LBJ would actually conduct business with certain members of his inner circle while seated on the commode in the residence portion of the White House. Lotta class, that LBJ. Such a kidder.

    In one of history’s great responses to a critical concert review, the composer Max Reger once replied: “Dear Sir, I am sitting in the smallest room of my home. I have your review before me. In a moment, it shall be behind me.”

    When I was 17, I met Elliot Gould in a men’s room in NYC. I cheerfully said, “Well-you’re just like the rest of us, huh?” He did not seem inclined to discuss the matter any further.

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