As self-appointed Tabloid Journalist on the Politics list, it is my job to provide the list with timely, entertaining, and entirely made-up news. In that capacity, I submitted the following Special Report: THE VIRTUAL WORLD NEWS "Never overestimate the public's ability to read; never underestimate its desire not to." ************ S P E C I A L R E P O R T **************************** SECRET GOVERNMENT PROJECT REVEALED It has just been revealed to the Virtual World News that the United States government has been engaged in secret cloning research, a la Jurassic Park, for the past three decades. However, the feds have not been cloning dinosaurs, but something less dangerous and even more useless to humanity--vice presidents. According to sources, the project began out of a misbegotten attempt to preserve John F. Kennedy. The source, a highly placed government scientist who headed Project Veep for over a decade, told us, "We tried to get Jack back. We really did. We even took some cells from Bobby. But it just didn't work. The failures have been showing up all over the world, ever since, having their pictures taken in all kinds of compromising positions--including on the White House lawn with aliens." On condition of anonymity, the source gave us the details of the experiment. Our interview took place in a secret location, to which we traveled blindfolded. This report is the result of that interview. In 1963, the first attempts were made to clone JFK, in hopes of getting him back on the ticket in 1964. It was felt that a Kennedy clone at the top of the ticket would have been too "eerie" for Americans to accept, but "he could have been set up as the vice president without too much trouble." The scientists tried mucking around with JFK's DNA in various highly scientific ways, hoping to remove the more troublesome aspects of his character. Unfortunately, their efforts were fruitless. Deciding that the project was "too much fun" to abandon, the scientists attempted to clone then-vice president Hubert Humphrey, but ended up with a disappointingly Elmer Fudd-ish knockoff. Undaunted, but running quickly out of money, they approached former California governor Richard Nixon, who was rumored in Washington to be "the kind of guy who knows how to get his hands on a lot of money and not the kind to ask for receipts." Nixon agreed to fund the project, but insisted that he be the next subject in the experiment. "I used to be vice president," he reportedly said. The scientists, desperately in need of funds, agreed to the condition, hoping to "get it over with quick and move on to someone we actually wanted more of." The Nixon cloning project was a success; too much so. The clone was in fact more appealing than the original, and, breaking out of the laboratory, it declared itself a candidate for president. The scientists tried unsuccessfully to kill the clone, but "he just kept coming back. It was horrible. It was a nightmare. There was nothing we could do but watch him become president. May God have mercy on our souls." Once the Nixon clone had won, the real Nixon persuaded him to come to a secret meeting in a parking garage near the White House, where the original, by a method known only to Nixon and several voodoo priests, terminated it with extreme prejudice. The folklore of the Project insists that the spirit of the clone still inhabits the garage, "occasionally appearing to gullible reporters and constantly plotting a comeback." Unable to bear the idea of cloning Spiro Agnew, the scientists all but gave up on the project for years. Except for a half- hearted attempt to clone Walter Mondale (which, disappointingly, resulted only in Michael Dukakis, the scientists spent most of their time drinking and blaming each other for the Nixon fiasco. However, in 1985, worried that the presidency of Ronald Reagan "was hanging by a single neuron that could snap at any time," the scientists obtained Reagan's permission to clone him. Instead, they cloned then-vice president George Bush. For the first time, the experiment was a success. The source admits, somewhat sheepishly, "it was the first real success of the Project. We had a terrific party and were drunk for weeks afterward. We were so wasted we forgot about the vice president for years. We poured our money into genetic research and got rich. We paid off Nixon, and that kind of alleviated a lot of the guilt we had been feeling. We got in touch with our true selves. We didn't get a chance to replace the vice president until he was running for president--I only wish we had gotten to him before he made that stupid tax pledge." The real vice-president was taken to a small island in the Caribbean, given a pension and a mansion to share with one of two failed Marilyn Monroe clones (the other one is now known as "Madonna"), and warned not to come back. Our source, who had by then been demoted to senior assistant Project Director due to his excessive drinking, says, "He didn't care. He didn't want to be President anyway. Who would?" With the Project running smoothly, the scientists moved quickly to clone vice-presidential candidate J. Danforth Quayle. "That one worked, too," the source says, "except for the SpellCheck." Quayle himself was humanely destroyed. During the Bush presidency, "we had a good chance to figure out what the drawbacks were of the process. We had a problem with the 'warmth' factor, and there were errors in the vocabulary of both clones. We tried tinkering with them on numerous occasions, and Marilyn [Quayle] was hospitalized once because she started telling people that she thought her husband was someone else. We got her under control in time for the 1992 convention, though." Figuring that the clones were likely to lose the election, the scientists approached vice-presidential candidate Al Gore, persuading him to become part of the experiment. "We told him we were doing important environmental research. That's all it took. We picked him up at the bus station, drove him into Middle America, and fed him to a cow as soon as we knew the project was successful. It was really easy." But now the scientists are having second thoughts about the Project. "What were we thinking?" the source said, "Who in their right mind would want another vice president?" Moreover, there are problems in the current clone that the scientists appear unable to correct. "Dammit," our source said, pounding our interview table with his fist, "he was supposed to *move*!" It is unclear what will happen in the future with Project Veep. However, this reporter, when left alone in the room for a few moments, did observe a chilling harbinger of things perhaps to come. There, in the bookcase next to a set of binders marked "JFK1," "JFK2," "Nixon," and the like, sits a nearly- empty three-ring binder neatly labeled "HILLARY." This has been a special report from the Virtual World News. We now return you to your usual round of catcalls, insults, and general conversational mayhem. --Tabloid Kerry, exclusive to the Virtual World News.
(From the "Rest" of RHF)