Debate ’92

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, sothat we may bring you this NBC News Special: “Debate ’92: The Challenge toAvoid Saying Something Stupid”. And now, here is your moderator, Jane Pauley.

Jane Pauley: Good evening. I’m Jane Pauley, and welcome to St. Louisfor the first in our series of three presidential debates. Tonight’s debateamong President George Bush, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, and diminutiveTexas billionaire Ross Perot will begin in just a moment. But first, let meintroduce my fellow panelists, CNN anchor Bernard Shaw and ABC News politicalcorrespondent Sam Donaldson. Now, let’s meet the candidates. Gentlemen. [ thethree 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 forpresident, yet your only experience has been as the governor of a small,backward state with a population of drunken hillbillies riding around inpickup trucks. The main streets of your capital city, Little Rock, aresomething out of L’il Abner, with buxom underage girls in their cutoff denimsprancing 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 loseyour mind living down there?

Bill Clinton: Sam, you must have watched too many of my opponent’sTV spots. I’m tired of the Bush campaign trying to portray my home state assome sort of primitive Third World country. The fact is, Arkansas didhave 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 shotahead of Mississippi. We’re #49, and we’re closing fast on Alabama. Watchout, Alabama – we got your number!

George Bush: Can I say something here? Two years ago, I went on afishing trip in Arkansas with Baker, Fitzwater, Quayle, myself. We werechased and assaulted by a couple of inbred mountain people. I was sworn tosecrecy 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 progressBill Clinton brought to Arkansas.. I don’t think we need it in the WhiteHouse!

Bill Clinton: That’s not fair. Just this year we passed Mississippito 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 inbredcrackerheads! Peckerwoods, catch me? now, can we talk about the deficit?While we’ve been jabbering, our deficit has increased by half a milliondollars. That’s enough to buy a still and a new outhouse for every familyin 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 whetherthese men have the temperament to be president. Would you tell Prime MinisterMajor to shut up? Would you call Boris Yeltsin a “Crackerhead”? Who wouldn’tyou tell to shut up? Because you see, this election is about who can take theheat, who you want there when that secured phone in the White House rings at3 AM. Do you want someone who will answer the phone politely: “Hello, thisis 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 thephone and sleeps like a baby while the world burns!

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

Bernard Shaw: Yes, Governor Clinton. If Kitty Dukakis were raped andmurdered, 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 uswant to see Kitty Dukakis raped and murdered, but if she had to bemurdered I would hope it would be in Arkansas – because no state is tougheron crime. Last year we passed Florida to become #2 in executions by lethalinjection, 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 theway the game is played – fine. So, if somebody were to lay a finger on KittyDukakis, I wouldn’t kill him right away. That’d be too easy. I’d wait fora 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 whatI’m saying here? See, they’re eating him alive, nice and slow like. And I’dsit with him in the shade under an umbrella, maybe with a lemonade, sit backand 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, Iresent your question.” Catch my drift?

Jane Pauley: THank you. Now, let’s turn to the deficit. PresidentBush, 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 willbe needed to reduce the deficit?

George Bush: Jane, the answer is no! I will never raise taxesagain! 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 your1969 trip to Moscow, and your involvement in antiwar activities. Some haveven suggested that while in Moscow, you had meetings with KGB agents. Isn’tit fair to say that you haven’t really told the American people the fullstory?

Bill Clinton: Sam, this kind of attack shows how desperate the Bushcampaign has become. Yes, I did go to Moscow by train in 1969. And whileon 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 foldedin a newspaper in a kiosk across from Lenin’s tomb. I’ve explained thismany 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 whenHillary 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 peacedemonstrations you burned an American flag in Red Square?

Bill Clinton: I tried to burn an American flag once. I didn’tlike 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 jigglethat 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 areflying the Prime Minister of Canada to a trade conference, I alonecan say, “Mr. Mulroney, seat 8G does not fully recline, I suggest you useanother!”

Jane Pauley: All right, Mr. Bush, our time is up. Each candidatewill 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 twelveyears, more and more Americans have found themselves working longer andharder for less and less. [ President Bush glances at Clinton and sees thevision of a hippy standing behind the podium ] We need to invest in ourpeople 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 leadershipand trust. Now, our opponents have tried to portray us as the party of therich and privileged, ignoring the fact that our economic program has createdmore 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 standingbehind the podium ] Well, let me tell you something: I’m not worth $3.3billion, and I wasn’t educated at Oxford. But I know how to lead thiscountry 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’thave 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 Bushglance 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 gonnatake some sacrifice, no doubt about it. But I know the American people areready to sacrifice as long as it’s fair. This is your country, let’s take itback.

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!

SNL Transcripts

Author: Don Roy King

Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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