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Nonpartisan Advice for the Upcoming Presidential Debates: An I [Heart] Television™ Special Report!

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Barack Obama is up poop creek without a paddle.

Sorry to rain on your parade, voters, but Obama has a super-duper important debate coming up this week against John McCain—and he's woefully unprepared! Why? Because in case you haven't noticed, THE DEBATE RULES HAVE TOTALLY CHANGED.

See, in the 2004 debates, John Kerry easily won, handing George Bush's honky ass to him on a silver platter. However, on Election Day, it was Bush's turn to serve up a nice big platter of ass, right before he strolled nonchalantly back into the White House.

So what happened?

As mentioned earlier, THE RULES HAVE CHANGED. Kerry may have won the "intellectual" debate—but since when does half of America give two craps about that? They're going to vote for the person who gets off the best "zingers" and isn't too intellectually threatening (i.e., the candidate who wears the "Who Farted?" T-shirt).

So what's the modern political candidate supposed to do? WELL, LEAVE EVERYTHING TO ME. Barack Obama and John McCain will be debating on Friday, September 26 (and vice-presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and Sarah Palin duke it out on Thursday, October 2), and if they're smart, they'll read and heed the following surefire tips for winning modern debates. Not only will these tactics help this year's candidates win the slightly retarded hearts and minds of America, it will also quite possibly propel them into the White House. SO, CANDIDATES—IGNORE MY ADVICE AT YOUR PERIL!

THE RULES

First things first: The Obama/McCain debate will be 90 minutes in length and use the "podium format." This obviously works in Obama's favor since McCain is old, feeble, and used to spending a lot of time on his back (a possible holdover from the days he spent lazing around Vietcong sweatboxes). There will be a single moderator—Jim Lehrer, best known as the host of the NewsHour on PBS and as "Doyle," Pauly Shore's best bud in the 1996 movie Bio-Dome. The topic for the first presidential debate will be "Foreign Policy and National Security." (Don't worry, John McCain—just keep saying "Vietnam" and you'll be fine.)

The vice-presidential debate is also 90 minutes long and will be moderated by Washington Week's Gwen Ifill—which is totally bad news for Joe Biden. There's nothing worse than being trapped by two chicks at once... unless you're in the backseat of a car. Am I right, dudes?? Up high!

THE HANDSHAKE

The opening handshake is incredibly important, because this is where the candidate must indicate dominance. Without pausing, race to the middle of the stage, grab your opponent's hand, and with your other hand, firmly grasp his elbow. Smile broadly, squeeze the shit out of his arm, and whisper in his ear, "You my bitch, right? Say you my bitch. That's right, bitch... I'm gonna make you cry like a little bitch, bitch." Then let go, smile and wave at your audience, and take your place behind the podium.

That's if you're Sarah Palin.

However, if you're Barack Obama you should definitely go for the high five. Why? Because of his war injuries, John McCain CAN'T RAISE HIS ARMS! And when he doesn't return the high five, Barack can be like, "Fine... leave me hanging, jerk!"

Another great handshake to use in the debates is the "psych." Reach out your hand, and when he/she goes for the shake, suddenly yank the hand away yelling, "PSYCH!" Extra debate points if you follow it by running your fingers through your hair. (Not you, John McCain... you can't raise your arms.)

STYLE TRUMPS SUBSTANCE

Issues, schmissues! The smart debater knows that personal flair wins debates. It's far more important to come off as likeable and memorable than whether or not your arguments have any factual basis. For example, a clever candidate may want to eschew business attire entirely for a "Teen Wolf" costume. People fucking LOVE Teen Wolf! Run out onto the stage howling, and maybe throw in a basketball dunk for good measure. (Not you, John McCain... you can't raise your arms.)

But it's not just about the way one dresses. Having a cool catchphrase can also work wonders! For example, Obama can score big personality points (while shoring up his "urban base") by countering McCain's arguments with phrases such as "Honky, please!" or "Cracker, please!" or perhaps even "May-o-nnaise, please!"

But McCain is just as capable of capturing the "urban" vote—we all know that "urban" is code for "black," right? Right!—if he heeds the following two words of advice: battle rap. Obama will crap his elitist underpants when his shoes and mother are insulted by McCain's wicked rhymes. (Oh, and John? Don't forget to beatbox!)

NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION

In debates, what you don't say is just as important as the bullshit you do say. In 1980, whenever President Jimmy Carter finished a point, Ronald Reagan would pull out that Alzheimery and condescending "heh-heh-heh" laugh that translated to "Oh, Jimmy, you fucking naive hillbilly." Al Gore would audibly sigh, and George Bush would spasmodically twitch. (Not sure if that was a tactic or not.)

So John McCain, I have two words of advice for you: fart... machine. It's a box that makes fart sounds. Nothing drives an elitist more crazy and fills voting hillbillies with glee like a juicy fart sound whenever people like Barack Obama are talking about "well-funded capitalization." Here are a few more ways to nonverbally communicate that your opponent is an idiot:

AIR WANKING. Eye-rolling is old-timey. Today's hot young debaters pretend they are air-masturbating (or wanking) to show their displeasure with an opponent's argument. And if you really want to drive your point home, do the "oral-sex wank" where you wank toward your mouth while jabbing your tongue into your cheek. Joe Biden should try this one behind Sarah Palin's back.

CARTOON SNORING. Nothing breaks a competitor's concentration like the sound of someone loudly snoring in the background. Try the "snore-whistle," the "snore-SNORT!" and the always-popular "snore-weeeeee-we-we-we-we!"• USE OF METAPHORICAL PROPS. Obama leaves a walker next to McCain's podium. (Just in case.) McCain hands Obama a waffle iron. (Just in case.) Palin gives Biden a muzzle. (Just in case.) And Biden presents Palin with a box of tampons and a Midol. (Just in case... of a nuclear standoff.)

PANTSING. Nothing's funnier during a dry speech about governmental fiscal responsibility than suddenly pulling down your opponent's pants. UNLESS! You do it to John McCain and then yank his shirt over the back of his head. He won't be able to do anything about it... BECAUSE HE CAN'T RAISE HIS ARMS!

KA-ZING!

What do you remember from the Reagan/Carter debates? "There you go again!" How about the Bush/Kerry debates? "Fuzzy math!" Or the Bentsen/Quayle matchup? "Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy." That's right... the ZINGER! It doesn't matter if you're Abraham Freakin' Lincoln—if you don't have a potential burn waiting in your arsenal, you might as well kiss your debate success good-bye. Here are some examples of some sweet-ass zingalings in action.

SARAH PALIN: As the mother of a child with Down syndrome...

JOE BIDEN: I thought everybody in Alaska had Down syndrome. SNAP!!

Or...

BIDEN: Our country simply can't stand another eight years of Bush politics...

PALIN: Mmm... Joey? My eyes are up here [pointing at her head]—not down here [pointing at her tits]. YA BURNT!

Or...

BARACK OBAMA: Change can happen! The government must rise above the petty bureaucracy that puts...

JOHN McCAIN: Ass-sphincter-say-what?

BARACK OBAMA: ...What?

McCAIN: Ha-ha-haaaaaa! FACE!!

Or...

McCAIN: As a senator, I've stood up to big business, and I'll fight hard for...

OBAMA: [Waving hand in front of nose] Peeeee-YEW! What smells? Did someone's colostomy bag break? OWWWW! [Spinning around in a circle, licking his finger, touching his bum, and saying...] Ssssssssssssssss!

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE

Again, the American public doesn't give a handful of meerkat poop about the validity of a candidate's argument. It wants to see one candidate dominating the other, drawing attention to his or her weaknesses. For example, we've all heard about McCain's temper problem. Take it from someone who spent most of his public-school career bugging the shit out of people: Here are three great ways to get under people's skin.

SQUEAKY VOICE. Repeat everything your opponent says immediately after he says it using a whining, squeaky voice. (This drove my seventh-grade lab partner, Scott Hill, crazy!)

SIMULTANEOUS TALKING. This is kind of like a verbal mirror exercise. You watch your opponent's mouth carefully and say exactly what he says while he's saying it. Include the "Stop thats," the "Shut ups!" and the "I'm going to bust your fucking face ins."

SPEAK EXTREMELY LOUDLY!! As if your opponent is too old and feeble to hear you. Another way to confuse old people is to suddenly yell, "MATLOCK'S ON!" They'll shuffle off the stage, and you'll win the debate by default.

One of the great political tactics that's successful nearly every time is the "outrageous half-lie." Here's how it works: Without looking at your opponent, say something like, "Unlike some candidates I could mention, I have never given a 13-year-old chlamydia." They'll be digging themselves out of that hole for weeks!

Another way to confuse and really aggravate your opponent is to question his patriotism via a "knock-knock" joke. Example...

JOE BIDEN: Knock, knock!

SARAH PALIN: Who's there?

BIDEN: 9/11.

PALIN: 9/11 who?

BIDEN: You said you'd never forget! BURN! FACE! FACIAL! Kaaaaa-ZING-A-LING-A-LIIIING!

(Maybe I should've put this in the "zinger" section?)

CLOSING STATEMENTS

At the end of the debate, each candidate is given time to make a "closing statement." I could give each candidate specific advice about what to say, but let's face facts. There's only ONE WAY for this year's candidates to do the impossible—which is win the debate AND win the election. Here's how in eight easy steps:

1. Listen quietly and respectfully as your opponent lists his/her qualifications for the job.

2. When he/she is finished, pick up the box sitting at your feet and carry it to the center of the stage.

3. Open the box.

4. Pull out the severed, still-dripping head of Osama bin Laden.

5. Close the box.

6. Walk directly to the White House, because you've already got the job.

7. Raise your arms in victory.

8. Not you, John McCain... you can't raise your arms.

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