Debate '92

Jane Pauley.....Julia Sweeney
Bernard Shaw.....Tim Meadows
Sam Donaldson.....Kevin Nealon
Bill Clinton.....Phil Hartman
President George Bush.....Dana Carvey
Ross Perot.....Dana Carvey (on tape)



Announcer: NBC's "Saturday Night Live" will not be seen tonight, so that we may bring you this NBC News Special: "Debate '92: The Challenge to Avoid Saying Something Stupid". And now, here is your moderator, Jane Pauley.

Jane Pauley: Good evening. I'm Jane Pauley, and welcome to St. Louis for the first in our series of three presidential debates. Tonight's debate among President George Bush, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, and diminutive Texas billionaire Ross Perot will begin in just a moment. But first, let me introduce my fellow panelists, CNN anchor Bernard Shaw and ABC News political correspondent Sam Donaldson. Now, let's meet the candidates. Gentlemen. [ the three candidates enter the arena and stand behind their respective podiums ] The first question will be asked by Sam Donaldson.

Sam Donaldson: Governor Clinton, let's be frank. You're running for president, yet your only experience has been as the governor of a small, backward state with a population of drunken hillbillies riding around in pickup trucks. The main streets of your capital city, Little Rock, are something out of L'il Abner, with buxom underage girls in their cutoff denims prancing around in front of Jethro and Billy Bob, while corncob-pipe-smoking, shotgun-toting grannies fire indiscriminantly at runaway hogs.

Bill Clinton: I'm sorry, Sam, do you have a question?

Sam Donaldson: My question is: How can you stand it? Don't you lose your mind living down there?

Bill Clinton: Sam, you must have watched too many of my opponent's TV spots. I'm tired of the Bush campaign trying to portray my home state as some sort of primitive Third World country. The fact is, Arkansas did have a long way to go, but we've made progress. When I started as governor, we were fiftieth in adult literacy, and last year, I'm proud to say, we shot ahead of Mississippi. We're #49, and we're closing fast on Alabama. Watch out, Alabama - we got your number!

George Bush: Can I say something here? Two years ago, I went on a fishing trip in Arkansas with Baker, Fitzwater, Quayle, myself. We were chased and assaulted by a couple of inbred mountain people. I was sworn to secrecy as to those events, but suffice it to say, they felt that Dan Quayle - and I quote - "sure had a purty mouth." Now, if that's the kind of progress Bill Clinton brought to Arkansas.. I don't think we need it in the White House!

Bill Clinton: That's not fair. Just this year we passed Mississippi to become 41st in the prevention of rickets.

Ross Perot: Can I jump in here? Why are we talking about Arkansas? Hell, everybody knows that all they got down there is a bunch of ignorant inbred crackerheads! Peckerwoods, catch me? now, can we talk about the deficit? While we've been jabbering, our deficit has increased by half a million dollars. That's enough to buy a still and a new outhouse for every family in Little Rock!

Bill Clinton: Will you shut up!

Ross Perot: Hold it there, cracker boy, I'm not finished!

George Bush: See that right there? Kind of makes you wonder whether these men have the temperament to be president. Would you tell Prime Minister Major to shut up? Would you call Boris Yeltsin a "Crackerhead"? Who wouldn't you tell to shut up? Because you see, this election is about who can take the heat, who you want there when that secured phone in the White House rings at 3 AM. Do you want someone who will answer the phone politely: "Hello, this is the President. Speak slowly and clearly and tell me what the problem is." Or do you want someone who's cranky, who says, "This better be important," or "Do you realize what time it is?" or simply says, "Shut up!" hangs up the phone and sleeps like a baby while the world burns!

Jane Pauley: Thank you, gentlemen. Now, Bernard Shaw has a question for Governor Clinton.

Bernard Shaw: Yes, Governor Clinton. If Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor the death penalty for her assailant?

Jane Pauley: Mr. Shaw, really. You don't have to answer that, Governor Clinton.

Bill Clinton: No, no, I'm happy to answer that. Obviously, none of us want to see Kitty Dukakis raped and murdered, but if she had to be murdered I would hope it would be in Arkansas - because no state is tougher on crime. Last year we passed Florida to become #2 in executions by lethal injection, and first in crushed by heavy stones.

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot? Rebuttal.

Ross Perot: I was hoping we'd get into the issues, but if this is the way the game is played - fine. So, if somebody were to lay a finger on Kitty Dukakis, I wouldn't kill him right away. That'd be too easy. I'd wait for a hot Texas day, see? Tie him to a stake, get an ant trail going. You know, Texas red ants, inch long! Just love to bite into human flesh, catch what I'm saying here? See, they're eating him alive, nice and slow like. And I'd sit with him in the shade under an umbrella, maybe with a lemonade, sit back and say to the fella, "How do you like them apples?" And he'll be screaming, "When am I gonna die?" and I'd say, "I don't know exactly, and frankly, I resent your question." Catch my drift?

Jane Pauley: THank you. Now, let's turn to the deficit. President Bush, during your term, the deficit has grown by over a trillion dollars.

George Bush: I know.

Jane Pauley: Honestly now, don't you feel some kind of tax hike will be needed to reduce the deficit?

George Bush: Jane, the answer is no! I will never raise taxes again! Never, ever, ever, ever.. never, ever again! And I mean never, ever, ever, ever, never ever..!!

Jane Pauley: Thank you, Mr. Presi..

George Bush: Never, ever, ever!

Jane Pauley: Mr. President, please..

George Bush: Ever, ever again!

Jane Pauley: Sam Donaldson, with a question for Governor Clinton.

Sam Donaldson: Governor Clinton, this week the big story has been your 1969 trip to Moscow, and your involvement in antiwar activities. Some have ven suggested that while in Moscow, you had meetings with KGB agents. Isn't it fair to say that you haven't really told the American people the full story?

Bill Clinton: Sam, this kind of attack shows how desperate the Bush campaign has become. Yes, I did go to Moscow by train in 1969. And while on the train, I struck up a conversation with a man in the seat next to me. He gave me a package to take to Moscow and instructed me to leave it folded in a newspaper in a kiosk across from Lenin's tomb. I've explained this many times. Yes, the KGB did subsequently pay my way through law school, but that was the last contact I had with the KGB until years later when Hillary and I were having problems, and it was a KGB agent, Nikolai Kuznetsov, who let me stay at his place for a while until we patched things up.

Sam Donaldson: But isn't it true that during one of the peace demonstrations you burned an American flag in Red Square?

Bill Clinton: I tried to burn an American flag once. I didn't like it. It gave off toxic fumes, so I didn't inhale.

Ross Perot: Can I say something here?

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot.

Ross Perot: I think that's just sad.

Jane Pauley: President Bush?

George Bush: Once again, it all comes down to trust. Who's been there? I've been with Mitterand, I've met with Major, I know the White House. I know the door outto the Rose Garden doesn't lock unless you pull it. I know the toilet in the Lincoln Bedroom will run all night unless you jiggle that handle. It's not enough to flush it, you've got to jiggle it! I know Air Force One. I know that seat 8G does not fuly recline. If we are flying the Prime Minister of Canada to a trade conference, I alone can say, "Mr. Mulroney, seat 8G does not fully recline, I suggest you use another!"

Jane Pauley: All right, Mr. Bush, our time is up. Each candidate will be allowed a brief closing statement. Governor Clinton?

Bill Clinton: Thank you, Jane. We've talked about many issues tonight. But this election is really about one thing - change. Over the last twelve years, more and more Americans have found themselves working longer and harder for less and less. [ President Bush glances at Clinton and sees the vision of a hippy standing behind the podium ] We need to invest in our people again. Because together, all of us, pulling as a team, we can do it! Thank you.

Jane Pauley: President Bush?

George Bush: My fellow Americans, this election is about leadership and trust. Now, our opponents have tried to portray us as the party of the rich and privileged, ignoring the fact that our economic program has created more opportunity for more Americans than in any twelve-year period in history. [ Clinton glances at President Bush and sees the vision of an old lady standing behind the podium ] Well, let me tell you something: I'm not worth $3.3 billion, and I wasn't educated at Oxford. But I know how to lead this country to victory in the Persian Gulf, and I can do it again here at home!

Jane Pauley: Mr. Perot?

Ross Perot: This whole thing fascinates me, really. See, you don't have to be a Ph.D. at Harvard to know that our kids are going to inherit a $4 trillion deficit, and that's just a crime. [ Clinton and President Bush glance at Perot and see the vision of a munchkin from "The Wizard of Oz" ] Now, if I'm president, we start cleaning up this mess on Day One. It's gonna take some sacrifice, no doubt about it. But I know the American people are ready to sacrifice as long as it's fair. This is your country, let's take it back.

Jane Pauley: Thank you, Mr. Perot, don't you have one last thing to say?

Ross Perot: No, I can't. I'm on tape. [ looks at Bush ] Why don't
you do it, live-boy?

George Bush: "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night!"


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