We’ve only got a minute or two before we cut to this morning’s Obama campaign press conference. Reportedly, Senator Obama will not be present — he’s preparing for his next debate with Senator McCain — but a campaign spokesman will be issuing a statement and taking questions from reporters. Thanks to a clever operation mounted by the PWB’s intern crew, we’ve secured a press pass and have managed to sneak Bobo the talking intern into the conference room.

Fortunately the press credentials withstood scrutiny and Bobo correctly answered the trick question thrown at any new or suspicious looking member of the media by campaign security… “Under what circumstances would you vote for Senator McCain or anyone else opposing Barack Obama?” This is the equivalent of the old WWII chestnut used to test for infiltrators… “Who won the 1938 World Series?” Bobo instinctively responded, “No such circumstances exist.” Bingo. He was given his seat assignment, a pamphlet with suggested copy for future stories about Obama and a coupon good for two free Ohio absentee ballots.

Before they start the conference I’d like to thank the hundreds of PWB readers who responded to last week’s question asking what or who you think is responsible for the current economic situation. It was refreshing to see the well thought-out comments and analysis from all across the country. For all of you who took the time to answer, particularly for those who used big words, complex sentences and some punctuation — really well done.

We had our senior mailbag analyst review the responses and separate them into bins marked “It’s all Bush’s fault” and “Everybody’s to blame.” This is how high-level research and statistical analysis are done.

In a surprise twist, not a single answer fell in the category of “It’s all Bush’s fault.” Apparently the mantra currently being chanted by the Obama campaign about how this is all the result of Bush (don’t forget to mention McCain in the same breath per Obama Field Manual, section 7, page 124, paragraph b) hasn’t taken hold with everyone just yet.

Over 80 percent believe that this mess resulted from multiple factors, including Democrats pressuring financial institutions to make home loans more accessible, Republicans not pushing back hard enough against the Democrats, banks going along for fear of fines and bad publicity and numerous parties who exploited the situation once it became clear that earnings could be had off the back of subprime loans. So the “Everybody’s to blame” bin runneth over.

The remaining 20 percent was a … what? Right, sorry to cut this off but we need to transfer to the Obama press conference currently in progress:

“Thank you… if you could please take your seats. Thanks very much… everyone… right, let’s get started. I’m Carl, a campaign spokesperson for Senator Obama… I’ve got a brief statement and then we’ll be taking questions. Before I forget, Senator Obama sends his apologies for not being here, he’s super busy getting ready for the debate with the old geezer. He’d love to be here and he promises to make himself extra accessible when he is president.”

Muffled applause from the reporters. One raises her hand while genuflecting…

“Carl, Melissa Sturgeon from The Daily Harbinger… any idea what the senator will be wearing for the debate?”

“Good question Melissa… we think it’s important to recognize the pain and suffering of the American people at this time. It would be callous and out of touch to show up at a town hall debate wearing decent clothes at a time when the middle class is in such dire straits. Senator Obama understands this and will be wearing sackcloth.”

Carl continues… “Please save your questions until after the prepared statement. As you know, the economy is clearly in crisis. As Senator Obama has stated recently, this is a direct result of the failed policies of the Bush administration over the past two terms. And when we say Bush administration we really are referring to John McCain.”

“Now, we all know that George Bush and the Republicans are incapable of caring, sharing and being kind… their inability to understand the American people has driven us to the edge of destruction. Terrible, fiery destruction with lots of fireballs and explosions and stuff.”

He pauses for effect… “Again, when I say George Bush and the Republicans, I suspect the American voters think John McCain. In fact, while we don’t have the evidence yet, we’ve heard that Senator McCain is possibly related to the Bush family. Not saying it’s true, but it does seem likely. They are eerily similar… it’s like one brain, two bodies. I’m just saying.”

Heads nodding in the audience as the reporters scratch in their notepads. One reporter stands up with a question…

“Carl, Buff Orpington from the London Herald Rebuke… any chance you’re going a bit overboard trying to link McCain to the Bush administration and are you worried the strategy could backfire?”

“Thanks Buff… if you could refer to page 17 of the Obama Field Manual, you’ll note that reporters aren’t allowed to ask questions with a negative connotation. Since you’re a foreigner, I’ll overlook it. The answer to your question is no.”

Carl looks back at his prepared text on the podium… “Let me just finish the statement and then we can get to the questions… but please remember to keep them light and cheery. The American people deserve no less at this difficult, horrible time.”

Carl looks directly at the camera with a knowing expression… “When the economy sucks, as it does right now, we need to stay focused on what’s important. Don’t allow yourselves to be distracted by meaningless questions related to Senator Obama’s associations and past acquaintances. The Republicans, led by George Bush and John McCain, will try to distract you from thinking about how awful things are right now. Really, really awful. But don’t be fooled. Asking questions about Senator Obama’s character and judgment is insulting and offensive, not to mention completely irrelevant to what the American people need to be thinking about as we near election day.

“In closing, as Democrats committed to Senator Obama’s victory, it’s important to us that people understand just how horrible everything is right now, thanks to the past eight years under President McCain. Or Bush. Whatever. We want to ensure that the American people fully realize how bad they should feel right now, how scared they should be and how they should channel that fear and panic into a vote for Senator Obama. Thank you and God bless all the nations of this world including those who hate us, and God knows just about everybody hates us because of what John McCain allowed the Republicans to do over the past eight years.”

Several hands shoot up in the air. Carl eyes them all and points to one.

“Thanks Carl, really nice statement, Duncan from the New York Blowhole Examiner… any concern that the Democrats might also be seen as culpable or somehow responsible for the economic crisis?”

“We are confident, very confident, that if we keep repeating over and over that the crisis is due to Bush, McCain and deregulation, the American people will buy it. Our tracking polls show that American voters aren’t interested in facts… they want repetition of simple statements and it doesn’t seem to matter whether they’re true or false. The key is in the repetition. Other questions?”

“Carl, Helen from MSCNB… really sorry to ask, and feel free to act irritated, but how would you categorize Senator Obama’s relationship with the misunderstood former alleged but kind of neat terrorist Bill Ayers?”

“See Helen, that’s just the sort of distraction that hurts the American people. But because you’ve been such a generous contributor over the past couple of years, let me take a shot at answering the question. Honestly, Senator Obama was something like 6 or 7 years old when Bill Ayers was going through his belligerent phase… and that was like two or three years before the senator even decided to run for president. Did the senator know anything about Mr. Ayers when their paths crossed later in life? Frankly the best way to answer that is to point out that the economy is really in crisis and Senator Obama understands the pain that America is going through. I hope that answers your question. We’ve got time for one more.”

“Thanks Carl… Bobo from the PWB. What exactly is the reason why we should think that Senator Obama is more qualified to handle the economic crisis than Senator McCain?”

Campaign security personnel move in to surround Bobo.

“The PWB? What a load of crap. But to answer your question… Senator Obama is more qualified because he isn’t a Republican… and according to our polls, that’s all that counts. Security, if you’ll show Bobo to the door. Everyone else, we’ll see you next month from the White House press room.”


As always thoughts and comments to peoplesweeklybrief@hotmail.com We can't always answer every e-mail, but we do read each and every one.

Til’ next week, stay safe.

Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector, including most recently Prescience LLC, a global intelligence and strategy firm. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on such issues. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant, writer and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks," as well as major motion pictures.