Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 38: Episode 3
First Presidential Debate
Jim Lehrer…..Chris Parnell
President Barack Obama…..Jay Pharoah
Mitt Romney…..Jason Sudeikis
[ open on Jim Lehrer ]
Jim Lehrer: Good evening, from the Magnus Arena at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. I’m Jim Lehrer, anchor of the “PBS Newshour” on your local public broadcasting station. Thank you, for joining us at the FIRST of the 2012 Presidential debates between President Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee… and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee. And now, let’s welcome the candidates.
[ the two candidates step out on stage and shake hands ]
Jim Lehrer: Gentlemen, welcome to you both. The first question is about the economy, and President Barack Obama, having won the coin toss, will go first. Mr. President… what are the major differences between you and Governor Romney in how you would go about creating new jobs?
President Barack Obama: Well… before I begin, uh, Jim… I, uh, first want to thank Governor Romney and, uh, University of Denver for your hospitality. Uhhhhh… there are a lot of points I want to make, uhh, tonight. Uhhhhh… but, most importantly, uhhhh, what is exactly, uhhhh — one — you know, that exactly happened, uhhhh, twenty years ago today. Uhhh… I became the luckiest man, uhhhh, on Earth… when Michelle Obama agreed to marry me. Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!
[ cut to real footage of Michell Obama looking stunned in the audience ]
President Barack Obama: Uhhhh — now, uh, four years ago, uhh, when I became President, I inherited the most, uhhhhh, WORST economic crisis in our nation’s history. Indeed, the worst crisis of ANY kind… that has ever befallen ANY country, or person EVER! Uhhhh… it was especially unfair that it should happen to me, since I’m such a likeable and yet inspirational figure. Uhhh — but, there you go! Uhhhh — that’s life!
[ cut to split-screen, as Romney looks on curiously at the rambling Obama ]
President Barack Obama: All the same, over the last few years, uhhhh… we’ve made tremendous progress, uhhh… despite the mess we’ve inherited, bringing millions of, uh, private sector jobs. Now — Governor Romney’s plan is to simply to cut taxes, uhh, for the WEALTHY! Uhhhh… I want… to hire… TEACHERS! Millions and millions of TEACHERS!
Jim Lehrer: So, then… your plan is, basically, to hire teachers?
President Barack Obama: [ nods his head and smiles like a jackass ] That’s right. Uhhhh… as many as it takes.
Jim Lehrer: Governor Romney, your response?
Mitt Romney: Well, Jim — when it comes to jobs, President Obama prefers what I call a trickle-down government solution. Now, my plan is different. It involves 41 basic elements, six rough reversals of positions, and three outright lies. Number One: Get us energy-independent, with energy produce right here in America. Number Two: Open up more trade, especially with Latin America —
[ Obama drifts off into private thoughts as Romney speaks ]
President Barack Obama V/O: The anniversary gift… I can’t believe I forgot the anniversary gift. This. Is. Bad. This is very, very bad.
[ cut to a frowning Michelle Obama in the audience ]
President Barack Obama V/O: Okay… I was distracted by the mess I inherited from Bush. But, still… I should have remembered our anniversary. [ he shakes his head in dismay ]
Mitt Romney: Number Twelve: Scale back other unnecessary regulations, to unleash the productivity of entrepreneurs.
[ Obama drifts back into his private thoughts as Romney speaks ]
President Barack Obama V/O: Okay. I will be out of here by nine o-clock, local time. I’ll have the Secret Service distract Michelle, while I hit the hotel gift shop for some kind of anniversary present. Let’s see… they had, uh, a Denver Broncos sweatshirt… [ the product appears in his thoughts ] She might like that. The hotel had soem nice bath robes for sale… [ the product appears in his thoughts ] Uh, that could be good. World’s Greatest Mom coffee mug. [ the product appears in his thoughts ] EVERYBODY likes coffee!
Mitt Romney: Number Twenty…
Jim Lehrer: Excuse me, Governor. Mr. President?
President Barack Obama: [ coming up for air ] I’m sorry, uhhh, uhhh… Yeah, yeah! What’s up?
Jim Lehrer: Mr. President, Governor Romney has just said that he killed Osama bin Laden. Would you care to respond?
President Barack Obama: Uhhh, no. You two go ahead. [ he returns to jotting down notes at his podium ]
Mitt Romney: Alright, then. Number Twenty: I would reform the tax code by eliminating pointless credits and deductions.
[ Obama drifts back into his private thoughts as Romney speaks ]
President Barack Obama V/O: Oh, boy… this altitude is starting to get to me. What is this, ten miles above sea level? I can barely keep my head up. I think I might pass out… So lightheaded… Why did I agree to Denver?
Mitt Romney: And Im sorry, Jim, uh, but Im gonna have to stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS. I do. I like you, too. But theres no reason for taxpayers to subsidize a television network. Number Twenty-Four…
[ Lehrer drifts into his own private thoughts as Romney speaks ]
Jim Lehrer V/O: He cant be serious about PBS! He cant! Not just losing the “PBS Newshour”, but where but on PBS can tyou find quality programming like “Antiques Roadshow” and Masterpiece Theatre” featuring “Downton Abbey”? Or special delights like “Bill Moyers Journal”? This is SO wrong! SO wrong!
President Barack Obama V/O: Air… so… thin… Can’t breathe… Losing… consciousness… [ he starts to wobble ] Must… hang… on… Hang on… for… Michelle… [ an image of his family appears in his thoughts ] For Michelle… and girls… Sasha… and, uhh… the other one. Can’t… remember… other one’s name… two digits… can’t think. Oh, yeah — Malia.
Mitt Romney: Number Thirty: I would lift ALL federal speed limits on our nation’s interstate highway. For heaven’s sake, the federal government has enough on its plate without telling private citizens how fast they can drive!
Jim Lehrer: And on that note… we have run out of time. Which brings the first of three Presidential debates to a close. I’d like to thank our participants — Governor Mitt Romney…
[ the audience cheers ]
Mitt Romney V/O: You hear that, Mitt Romney? You are a badass motherfucker!
Jim Lehrer: And President Barack Obama.
[ the audience cheers, as Obama tends to his notes ]
Jim Lehrer: Governor, can you see if he’s alright?
Mitt Romney: Uh — yeah. I’m…
[ Romney cross split-screen into Obama’s frame and taps him awake ]
President Barack Obama: I LOVE MY WIFE!! [ he makes kung-fu motions with his hands ]
Jim Lehrer: From all of us here at Denver, good night and “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Niiiiiiight!!”