Beloved TV icon and GOP presidential candidate Gopher Fred Thompson went on the Tonight Show last night to challenge other actors who have played presidents to debate. Several prominent actors were included, and Thompson weighed their relatives strengths and weaknesses, but he also pointedly excluded several and explained why:
THOMPSON: Sheen is smart, earnest, hard-working, and has played the president on TV for a couple of seasons, so he'll get a lot of those confused voters who think he's already president. No question it's tough to dislodge an incumbent.
On the minus side, he's way too liberal on the show and in real life. And I heard around town his boy Charlie is pretty wild, so he won't go over with the family values crowd.
LENO: And he's short.
THOMPSON: ...and he's short. You can't stand tall if you aren't tall.
THOMPSON: He'll be a tough, tough opponent because he fought off terrorists on Air Force One in that action movie...what was it?
LENO: Air Force One.
THOMPSON: That's right, it was about Air Force One, but I can't remember the name. I do have one advantage over Ford; he's got a very monotone voice. The president has to do that weekly radio address as well as reading the teleprompter at speeches and repeating what ya hear in the earpiece when reporters ask questions. I've done a lot more voice over work than him--I was the narrator of all those Disney nature movies back in the 60s.
THOMPSON: This boy is a real contender. He's got the fire in the belly, and he's a real poon hound. After the Clinton impeachment failed, our focus groups showed that Americans admired a president with a strong heterosexual libido. That gives Douglas a real edge over most of the candidates in the GOP mens room if you get my drift.
LENO: Uh, why are you tapping my foot under the desk, Fred?
ACTORS NOT INVITED:
THOMPSON: She is smart, tough as nails, and has a real screen presence.
LENO: And her face is already on Mt. Rushmore...
THOMPSON: You'd be a fool not to run if you look like George Washington. Hell, she don't even need the wig.
On the downside, male GOP voters are frightened by powerful assertive women. All those years of abusing farm animals and re-enacting the "squeal like a pig" scene from DELIVERANCE has left them with a fragile sexual identity that someone like her threatens. That's why I made sure my wife is obvious arm candy, so they can feel I'm manly enough for me AND them.
KEVIN KLINE and ROBIN WILLIAMS
THOMPSON: Come on, those movies were comedies, for God's sake!
Besides, we thought that would work with W--did you know they originally were going to give the part to Jim Varney if he hadn't died? Problem was, the mean-spirited, bumbling, retard president wasn't so funny once the bodies started piling up. The producers want to go a different way this time.
THOMPSON: He did excellent work in DEEP IMPACT, showed gravitas and compassion. That's tough to pull off.
But we can't have a colored fella who actually has a shot at the presidency in the running for the GOP nomination. Hell, Colin Powell cleared his throat about running in '96 and he got death threats from our base. If Freeman ran, everybody would be wearing white to the debates if you know what I mean.
If they Democrats want to run him, that's something else.
THOMPSON: This one is really painful for me. If Arnold could run I could finish out my life on LAW & ORDER and having my pretty little wife give me sponge baths and change my Depends.
You have no idea how much time and money the party put into making Arnold California governor, setting up that recall and trying to make Arnold look like he cared about family values. We figured if he ran, the Democrats could put up JFK, RFK, MLK, Mother Theresa, and Gandhi on one ticket and Arnold could beat 'em.
It is such a terrible, terrible waste....
LENO: uh, Fred, doesn't the Constitution say people born in Austria can't be president?
THOMPSON: Jay, the Constitution says a lot of things, but we got around most of them after 9/11, so we figured we could get around that one too. The American people just forgot to be afraid sooner than we expected and started paying attention to those little details again.
LENO: Maybe you guys will have better luck after the sequel.
THOMPSON: (laughing) you can count on it.