They came, they saw, they looked under the hood

MIKE LITTWIN

November 04, 1992|By MIKE LITTWIN

It's over. Bush is off the train. Clinton's off the bus. Perot's out from under the hood. Nobody knows where Stockdale is.

It's over, except it's never really over. Yogi was wrong. Within two years, there'll be 10 or 12 books out on the campaign, including at least two scholarly studies of Larry King's suspenders (possible title: "Keeping Up With Larry").

We're here to get a jump on the game and do a quick recap of the thrills, spills and other wonderments of the campaign -- including the president of the United States doing MTV, in which George Bush meets Downtown Julie Brown -- and for much less than $19.95.

OK.

It starts with Paul Tsongas. Talks like Elmer Fudd, so never does Larry King. Wins New Hampshire, anyway. Sinks like stone after swimming pool commercial, in which he evokes memories of Dukakis in the tank. Happy ending, though: Tsongas now a model for Speedo.

There are other Democrats (10 bonus points if you can name all six, or all three chipmunks). There are 800 numbers, no Mario, debates, bimbo eruptions, the draft, more 800 numbers, more debates, the Democratic convention (a '60s-style love-in). There is also this Dennis Miller line on Clinton: "I think it's ironic that Vietnam was the only time this guy didn't see any action."

Key moment in election. Pat Buchanan challenges Bush. Gets 37 percent in New Hampshire and says Bush should quit. Buchanan, accused of anti-Semitism, gay-bashing and bad hair, is discredited until convention, where he accuses Democrats of cross-dressing. Marilyn Quayle suggests Democratic women aren't real women. Pat Robertson says God is a Republican, although he may have meant Ronald Reagan. Election over?

Larry King invents Ross Perot, or is it the other way around? Talk-show mania begins. Clinton does Arsenio, Bush does the morning shows, Perot is everywhere. Donahue asks Clinton about his sex life. Sally Jessy Rafael does a theme show on talk-show hosts who have interviewed candidates' pets.

The talk is of: Elvis, ears and Murphy Brown. Jim Baker? Potatoe?

Perot is in. He soars in the polls. Perot is out. Larry King, volunteers crushed. Clinton soars in the polls. Bush is talking about "family values." Clinton counters: "I didn't inhale."

Perot is back in time for debates. Larry King holds small party at Duke's. Later Perot says he quit only because either Black Panthers or the Bush campaign team were planning to disrupt his daughter's wedding and/or fake a photo showing her as a lesbian. People still apparently vote for him.

Perot infomercial beats baseball in ratings. Ted and Jane snoozing.

In the photo-op race: Bush jogs; Clinton jogs, all the way to doughnut store; Perot is under the hood and pays somebody to jog for him.

First debate. Perot is fascinatin'. Remember: "I'm all ears."

Vice presidential debate. Quayle is on attack. Sounds like Buchanan with good hair. Gore is smart, if wooden. In fact, he's so wooden he has his own termite protection plan. Stockdale's hearing aid goes off.

Second debate. Bush stumped by question from audience member asking him how the recession affects him personally. "What recession?" Bush says.

Third debate. Bush on attack. Perot on attack. Clinton tries to act presidential and race tightens. Hmmmm.

Waffles replace potatoes as food du campaign.

Perot goes infomercial crazy. Rising in polls. Does "60 Minutes" and starts to slip. Favorite infomercial moment: Shows on one of his charts a map of Arkansas with giant chicken on it.

Cher and Paul Simon endorse Perot. Sing "I Got Ears, Babe" duet.

Bush makes surge in poll. "Irangate" returns. A plane trails Bush train with a sign saying, "Iran-contra Will Haunt You." The next sign the plane will carry: "Coppertone, Best at the Beach."

Bush goes to negative mode. Bozo. Ozone Man. Nutty pollsters. Millie. Does MTV. A lot of spotted owl sightings.

Clinton loses voice. Rises in polls.

It's election day. Quayle, before voting, gets his teeth cleaned (this is true). Apparently, it's a Quayle election-day ritual to discuss gingivitis with a professional before voting. Perot (also true) votes only after sending out a bogus car to mislead reporters.

Dan and Bernie and Tom and Peter come on TV to tell us who won. No sign of Larry King, who is reportedly lining up rich guy, possibly the Emir of Kuwait, to announce for '96.

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