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Wednesday, September 23 2:00 PM EDT

The Sound of One Person Debating

By Steve Young

California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and state Sen. Tom McClintock had threatened to boycott the only debate Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger planned to attend unless organizers switch to an unscripted format. Unfortunately Cruz and Tom backed down. It's a shame. It would have been fun.

LOCATION: The California Broadcasters Association Debate

PARTICIPANTS: Moderator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, four empty chairs.

Moderator: Good evening and welcome to another California Recall Gubernatorial Debate. Let’s meet the candidates...Arnold Schwarzenegger. How are you tonight, Mr. Schwarzenegger?

Arnold: I was never told that question would be asked. But just to show my puny coward opponents that I do not need a script to respond to hard questions... I am fine and there is a tremendous disconnect between the people of California and the leaders of California.

Moderator: Before the show we asked the candidate to draw a straw to see who would go first and Mr. Schwarzenegger drew that straw. Mr Schwarzenegger, what do you feel it would take for you to win this election?

Arnold. Simple. I would need to receive more votes that any of the other candidates or that every one of my opponents receive less votes than me. Either one will do.

Moderator: Rebuttal?

Empty Chairs: (Silence)

Moderator: Mr. Schwarzenegger, what would you tell the voters how you would deal with illegal immigration?

Arnold: Simple. I would repeal the entire car tax. We get taxed when we wake up, we get taxed when we go to the bathroom, we get taxed when we use the toilet paper, we get taxed when we flush, we get...

Moderator: Mr. Schwarzenegger. I was asking about illegal immigration You’re answering the car tax question.

Arnold: Excuse me, but the illegal immigration question is what you told my people would be the fourth question. It is the third question that was about the tripling of the car registration fee. You are wrong here. Perhaps you think that I am stupid or would answer the fourth question with the answer I’ve had prepared for the third question?

Moderator: But you did answer the fourth question with...

Arnold: There is a tremendous disconnect between the people of California and the questions you are asking. To clear up the disconnect, when you ask the question, please also refer to the number of the question you wish me to recite the answer to.

Moderator: Alright. Number Five. What would you tell the voters that you would do to get rid of the deficit?

Arnold: Simple. I would just have them look at my commercial. The one that responds to that particular issue.

Moderator: We can’t really show commercials.

Arnold: Then how would the voters ever know that there is a tremendous disconnect between the people of California and the leaders of California?

Moderator: No commercials.

Arnold: What about tapes from my appearances on Oprah and Larry King. I gave many answers there, several of which I am told apply to the deficit problem.

Moderator: For arguments sake, let’s say the voters in question does not have a television.

Arnold. Simple. Then I would have them speak to my advisor Warren Buffet who has told me that he would know a lot of different ways to turn around the deficit, if that would be a question that was asked.

Moderator: Let’s just say there are four or five thousand people who want to know what you would do, and Mr. Buffet is too busy to talk to each one and they couldn’t afford to buy a TV.

Arnold: Couldn’t they just they just chip in a dollar a piece to buy a television? Even the children who I will make sure to make a primary focus of my administration could afford a dollar. And based on the many thousands they put together, they could manage a television they would be proud of. Not like the tremendous disconnect California is now under leaders like Gray Davis.

Moderator. Just for today, and ignoring the fact that this debate is being broadcast over TV, let’s agree that television doesn’t exist.

Arnold: I believe getting very close to this being a question that wasn’t given to us in advance but I have never been a girlie man who would shy away from difficult problems....

Moderator: The answer...?

Arnold: Simple. I would turn around the deficit by getting rid of it, once and for all.

Moderator: How?

Arnold: By decreasing it to the point that it reaches zero. Maybe even less than zero. Then we would have a minus deficit. Is that too hard for your scrawny mind to comprehend?

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Moderator: Rebuttals?

Empty Chairs: (Even more silence)

Moderator: Actually if all the other candidates we expected showed up and with their rebuttals this would be all the time we'd have. So, Mr Schwarzenegger, do you have a closing statement?

Arnold: What number question was that?

Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (Tallfellow Press), an award-winning television writer, director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz," and former gubernatorial candidate.

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