Greetings and welcome to the City Club for this historic debate. With me tonight are Attorney General Jim Petro and Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, two men vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Mr. Blackwell, let's start with you. How do you plan to reverse the downward spiral of Ohio's economic fortunes?
"Stop the homos from marrying."
Mr. Blackwell, I don't believe that's really an economic plan.
"Stop the homos from adopting?"
Mr. Blackwell, I hardly think --
"Shoot the fags in the knee?"
Okay, let's move on. Mr. Petro, you've been accused of selling state legal contracts in exchange for campaign contributions. How would you remedy this situation as governor?
"As you know, attorneys general are hindered by certain inventory issues. We're pretty much limited to rigging legal contracts and turning a blind eye to corruption. But as governor, I promise to have a full line of products priced to move -- seats on university boards and turnpike commissions, department posts, unbid contracts, you name it. As they say on The Street, you can expect heavy trading under the Petro administration."
Okay, perhaps we'll move to an easier question --
"That last line was a Wall Street joke. Get it? The boys at the caucus always get a kick out of that line."
Yes, Mr. Petro. Quite clever. I believe everyone got it. Moving on to you, Mr. Blackwell: You've long talked about reducing state spending, yet spending by the Secretary of State's office has risen 80 percent during your tenure. Does this imply that you favor restraint for everyone but yourself?
Would you care to elaborate?
Okay, Mr. Petro, you too have talked of restraint, but your selling of contracts has cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do you believe there's a contradiction here?
"Contradiction's a little strong. I prefer to think of it as a market correction. But as a sign of my commitment to reduced spending, I'm offering a special deal for viewers of this debate: Buy any corrections department contract today, and you'll receive a second one at no additional cost! Operators are standing by!"
Well . . . ah . . . That's a very unique proposal. Turning to you, Mr. Blackwell: You actually have an economic plan, something called the TEL initiative. But wasn't this idea simply stolen from Colorado, where it proved to be a disaster?
So why are you urging Ohio to adopt demonstrated failure?
"Kick the fags really hard in their calf muscle?"
Okay, Mr. Blackwell, let's try to focus, shall we? Now Mr. Petro, you've often been called The Laziest Man in Law Enforcement for your unwillingness to investigate anything. How can you convince voters that you're not lazier than my brother-in-law?
"I can assure you that Jim Petro is fighting hard every day for the working families of Ohio. My normal day usually begins around 10 a.m. with 18 holes with a large contributor. By 1 p.m., you'll find me in my office, working the phones with my team of sales associates -- I mean . . . ah . . . lawyers -- to move whatever product we have that day. By midafternoon, I'm consulting with large contributors at Ruth's Chris, where I highly recommend the Coldwater Lobster Tail. You wouldn't believe the negotiations involved in kickbacks these days. This can take hours. It's not like TV, where some guy just drops off a Taco Bell bag full of cash. So there's usually not time to get back to the office. But by 8 p.m., you'll always find me in room 319 at the Motel 6 by the airport, where I'll be locked in consultation with a very attractive lobbyist from the Association of Predatory Lenders. I believe this demonstrates that Jim Petro is working around the clock on behalf of Ohio."
Very interesting --
"Did you get that locked in consultation' line? I bet David Brennan 50 bucks that I could get some sexual innuendo into the debate. If you're listening at home, Dave, pay up!"
I'm sure Mr. Brennan is very amused. Now both of you are aware that Governor Bob Taft has lower approval ratings than the bad guy in Spider-Man. In what way will your governorship be different? Mr. Blackwell?
"He's white and bald. I'm black and I have hair."
"It's true that my opponent is black. However, I too have hair and I enjoy the musical stylings of the Wu-Tang Clan, proving my affection for all races and cultures, even the Chinese. And let me just say that when I'm playing basketball at the Statehouse gym, there's not a state senator over 60 who wants to defend the paint when Jim Petro has the rock. My opponent sucks at basketball. Betty Montgomery beats him in H.O.R.S.E."
That was very interesting, Mr. Petro. Okay, final question: Both of you claim to be deeply religious. How will this faith relate to your performance as governor? Mr. Blackwell?
"And on the Seventh Day, God said, Punch the fags! Cut taxes! Let's beat up some Jews!'"
Mr. Petro, I'm sure you have some vaguely coherent thoughts on this matter, but we're running out of time. Let's move to our closing statements. Mr. Attorney General, we'll start with you.
"I think if we give 110 percent, stick to our game plan, and take it one game at a time, we can compete with anyone on any given Sunday."
I'm sure you understand, Mr. Petro, that you're merely reciting lines from old Butch Davis press conferences. But let's leave it at that and try to get out of here without doing any more damage. Mr. Blackwell, perhaps you'd like to express some final idea for inflicting bodily harm on homosexuals? . . . Mr. Blackwell? . . . I believe you were instructed not to nap at the podium until after the debate . . . Can someone please wake Mr. Blackwell?