Rove and Snow: We Will Prevail Against This Evil...
by William Prendergast
(Scene: Karl Rove’s office, which is now located down in the boiler room of the White House. Rove is in his shirtsleeves and fanning himself with some press releases. He mops his forehead with his handkerchief, it’s hot down there. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow comes in through the bulkhead door, holding a file.)
Rove: Jesus, I can’t take this. How am I supposed work in this heat, it’s like a menopause support group in this room...
Snow: Sorry to bug you Karl, the janitor said I could come in—
Rove: For Christ’s sake, don’t call him a janitor, call him a custodian. He gets mad if you call him a janitor, he turns up the thermostat and then I start to fry right through my shorts down here. Did Dick say anything about getting me the hell out of this boiler room?
Snow: No. Dick says you gotta lay low til this Gonzalez thing blows over.
Rove: Shit. Alright, what’s the problem with the press conference, I made it as straightforward as possible—
Snow: Well, that’s just it. I mean, come on, Karl, we’re below thirty per cent in the polls, I can’t just come out four years into the war and hand the press the same catchphrases we’ve been peddling to talk radio since 2004.
Rove: What are you talking about?
Snow: These key phrases—“we support our troops,” “we don’t cut and run,” “we expect to regain the initiative in the next two or three months.” I know we have to stay on the message, but I can’t go out there with just this stuff again, they’ll crucify us in the NYT, the WaPost. We need to at least throw ‘em a bone, some fact about Iraq—
Rove: Iraq? (takes briefing paper from Snow) Tony, this isn’t a press conference about Iraq.
Rove: This is your press conference on that madame who runs that string of whores here in Washington, D.C. The one who runs that escort service and is threatening to release her client list to the media.
Snow: But what’s all this stuff in here about “terrorism?”
Rove: It is terrorism! She’s got the GOP scared shitless. Out party just got its ass kicked in the last election, if she starts telling people that Tom DeLay called her for a handjob, that’s the crack of doom. If that’s not terrorism, what is?
Snow: But here you say “we’ve got to support our troops, we’ve got to stand by our troops” in this battle against evil, what does that have to do with—
Rove: Our troops! OUR troops, Tony, the Republicans who called this woman to get their handjobs. We can’t just abandon our boys, if these names go out it’s the end of their political lives. We’ve got to support ‘em.
Snow: Oh. When I read this part here, about how we “originally estimated that 21,500 would be sufficient, but now we’ve revised that figure up to 30,000,” I thought you were talking about the “troop surge”—
Rove: No, dummy, that’s how much we’re going to offer her not to publish the names. We thought we could buy it back off her for twenty one thousand five hundred bucks, but she told us to fuck off, so we’re bumping our offer up to thirty grand. Don’t you read the papers? But that’s not a bad idea…when you talk about the money, don’t call it a bribe or a cash offer, call it a “surge.” And call the extra nine grand a “spurt.”
Snow: Okay. (makes a note of it.) Do you think she’ll accept the thirty grand?
Rove: Don’t speculate on that. Our official position is that we do not negotiate with terrorists.
Snow: Is it okay for me to mention her by name?
Rove: Christ, no. That’s the whole point. Anybody who tunes in in the middle of the news conference is going to think you’re spouting the same bullshit about Iraq again, and change channels. That’s the whole point.
Snow: Oh, I get it. Can I tell them that we will ultimately prevail against this evil?
Rove: Sure, why not. The Saudis will probably buy it off her for a million or two, anyway. They love to get something on us whenever they can, it improves their bargaining position. This whole thing will probably blow over in a week or two, if they pay her off.
Snow: Right. (scribbles) “The president is confident that we will ultimately prevail—“ (suddenly stops) Hey Karl—is my name on that list?
Rove: How the hell would I know? Should it be?
Snow: I don’t think so…I always gave out the President’s credit card number…(raises his eyebrows) Is your name on the list, Karl?
Rove: Are you kidding me? You think I can get an escort service to deliver me a hand job down here in the White House boiler room? I can’t even get the custodian to bring me a glass of water. Whew, it’s hot. Ask Dick if I can get a fan down here or something, willya?