17 Jul

BOSTON—Mitt Romney’s campaign today took the audacious step of publicly releasing the shortlist of candidates to join him on the Republican ticket in November.

At the top of the list, as was widely expected by the pundits, was actor/crazy person Tom Cruise, fresh off his divorce from Katie Holmes. “Cruise is a strong choice,” said commentator Ann Coulter. “Obama may have killed Bin Laden, but Tom Cruise has saved the world from nuclear annihilation. He also starred in Knight and Day, only the best movie ever made. And we won’t be hearing much about how strange Mormonism is.”

Also widely anticipated was the inclusion of Jeremy Lin, the Knicks point guard. “Lin is an unrestricted free agent, so Romney must have figured it was a good time to pick him up,” said CBS columnist Jeff Goodman. “Lin has a great work ethic, and he’ll be a strong threat inside the paint. Don’t expect Biden to be able to keep up.” While Lin’s lack of any real-world expertise outside basketball could be a handicap, “great players learn quickly,” said Goodman.

A more controversial choice was Han Solo. Although leading republicans agree that Solo is a dashing rogue with a good heart, reliably pro-gun-rights, and on current thinking supports a tight reading of the commerce clause, the fact that he is a fictitious character gave many pause. “Look, I love the guy,” said Glenn Beck. “He reminds me of our founding fathers. But I just can’t get over the imaginary thing.”

Still, most conservatives found the list inspiring. “We’ve had too many same-old-same-old vice-presidential candidates. Gun-rights, pro-life, wants to secede from the union, a little mentally unbalanced, blah, blah, blah,” said Rush Limbaugh, emerging from a pharmacy in Palm Beach. “Mitt Romney has the courage to break the mold and put forward people who aren’t professional politicians, or even technically people at all.”

Many observers were surprised that the Romney campaign released a shortlist at all, which is unusual in a presidential campaign. “It’s a bold move,” said Dale Emmerich, Professor of Vice-Presidential Studies at Arizona State. “Putting the names out there publicly helps gauge public reaction, but it also raises the likelihood that a candidate could be kidnapped by John Malkovich and Helen Mirren to uncover the truth about a secret commando mission in Guatemala.” Upon further reflection, Professor Emmerich admitted that perhaps he was thinking of the 2010 action-comedy RED.

The Obama campaign, caught flat-footed once again by Romney’s deft move, had no immediate response. “Look, we just can’t keep up with this guy,” admitted David Plouffe. “Next thing you know, he’ll be dressing casually and visiting a factory in a swing state or something. He’s always a step ahead of us.”

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