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Late Nite Pols

"Joe Lieberman would be the first Jewish person to serve directly under a 
president since -- well, since Monica," and further, that the recent polls 
have made Al Gore so confident that "he has actually started raising cash 

Jay Leno's line that Bush "has fried so many convicts they shouldn't call him 
governor, they should call him the Colonel." 

It's like you go to a party and girls say about you, 'That guy's gay.' Well, 
you've lost half the crowd already."  MAYBE, BUT THE HALF THAT'S LEFT MIGHT 
BE REALLY FUN!!!!!!!!!!

The flash point of the interview came with the easiest question. "You often 
say, 'I'm a uniter, not a divider,"' Letterman said. "What does that mean?" 
Bush smiled fatuously through a few painful moments of satellite drift. Then, 
skating to the edge of coherence, he replied: "It means when it comes time to 
sew up your chest cavity, we use stitches as opposed to opening it up!" As a 
tasteless and contorted reference to the host's recent heart surgery, this 
comment was baffling on many levels. 

Dennis Miller showed an A.P. wire photo of Gore high-fiving a boy as Miller 
read the vice president's ostensible words: "Hey there, young fella, make 
contact with my hand above shoulder level with appropriate force to make a 
short slapping sound." 

"It's been fascinating to watch the character of Bush develop," says Chris 
Harris, another "Late Show" writer. "Eventually he started making all these 
gaffes -- and we realized, he's a dumb guy. There's no better cliche than the 
Dumb Guy. We can plug that into any formula." Just as with Dan Quayle, the 
Dunce label has proven durable. 

After George W. Bush used an epithet beginning with "A" to describe a New 
York Times reporter a few weeks ago, Jay Leno told me he regretted cutting 
the previous night's joke about how, in politics, the A-word used to mean 
adultery. "That Bush comment is worth a week of jokes, easy!" he said. "At 
least it was a two-syllable word. For Bush, that's a step up." 

In late July, Letterman casually mentioned that Bush and Cheney were getting 
along so well that their weekend plans were "to pick up some six-packs and 
watch an execution." A few weeks later, Jay Leno touched an even more 
sensitive nerve, a twofer: "They executed a guy with an I.Q. of 63. Can you 
believe it? Bush turning his back on one of his own!" 

The bit ended with Bush's endorsement of his running mate: "I was always 
around when Dick Cheney and my dad worked together. I'd hear 'em working in 
the front room when I'd stumble in all high." 

: "Bush promises to spend an additional $13 billion on education. O.K., 
George, that covers you. Now what about the rest of the country?" 
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