Hours before the first Presidential debate, both campaigns are engaged in the “lowered expectations” game. By actively discounting the possibility of their candidate’s success, they hope to create a situation where any showing—even a bad one—is perceived as a triumph based on the low standard they’ve set.
As fate would have it, we here at Paste found ourselves in the midst of this spin zone earlier today. In an enormous coup, we were able to get both Katrina Pierson, Trump’s national spokesperson, and Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, on a conference call. The conversation was…interesting.
We present the transcript without further comment:
Paste: Thank you both so much for joining us tod—
Mook: I’m just going to say it—Hillary Clinton doesn’t like debates. She’s going to be a great president, but she’s a real debate-hater. They give her hives.
Paste: Okay, well my first quest—
Pierson: You think she hates debates? Donald Trump has woken up every morning since 1948 by rolling around his bed in a cold sweat and moaning the words “please don’t argue, please don’t argue.” Tonight is his nightmare, seven decades in the making.
Mook: That’s nonsense, Katrina, and you know it. Donald Trump is the greatest debater any of us will ever see in our lifetime. No, screw that: In world history. He makes Cicero look like…well, like Hillary.
Pierson: Robby, please. Hillary is a rhetorical virtuoso. She’s so good, she’s made me forget that one guy with the big stovepipe hat who everyone said was good at debating. Can’t remember his name. She’s wiped him out of our collective memory.
Mook: If “The Devil and Daniel Webster” had been written today, it would be called “two weak-ass cuckolds get thumped by the Trump.”
Pierson: There are at least 15 unaired episodes of The West Wing where Hillary makes Jed Bartlet cry like a pathetic little weenie.
Mook: Wrong. Hillary struggles with her command of English.
Pierson: “turcljkv erevwon dengnip cwet.” That’s what Trump said to me ten minutes ago, and it’s the most lucid he’s been in days.
Mook: Honestly? Everyone in our office is hoping she praises Bin Laden less than five times tonight. For us, that would be a big a victory.
Pierson: In every mock debate we’ve run, Trump has guaranteed nuclear war against Canada.
Mook: Hillary does offensive accents.
Pierson: Trump will probably enter the stage on a palanquin carried by sweat shop children.
Mook: Hillary decided to wear an ISIS pin instead of the American flag.
Pierson: Trump is still wearing the American flag pin, but he’s putting it upside down on his crotch.
Mook: Hillary is wearing a $3 million dress with hundreds of tiny diamond depictions of Obama getting eaten by a shark.
Pierson: Trump killed Charles “Sully” Sullenberger this morning and is wearing a suit made of his skin.
Paste: HOLD ON. Just hold on, one second. Can we get this back on track and have a legitimate discussion about debate strategy?
Mook: I’d love to, but it’s tough for me because whenever I hear Trump speak, I am filled with a sense of total joy, and begin to weep uncontrollably.
Pierson: My strategy is to try to forget that I’m going to hell when I die, since Hillary is the living embodiment of the holy trinity and I have damned my mortal soul by opposing her.
Mook: I’ve been lucky enough to play Trump in our mock debates, and after two minutes of talking about the wall I reached a state of nirvana.
Pierson: Everyone who has played Hillary for us has died by face-melting like those Nazis in Indiana Jones.
Mook: I had to go see a doctor after playing Trump because of an erection that lasted longer than five hours, but all that happened is that it gave the doctor an erection.
Pierson: I believe Hillary can fly.
Paste: PLEASE STOP! PLEASE! Can you just tell me which issues you think will be most important tonight?
Mook: For me, the biggest issue is whether Hillary will sing the song she wrote about how much she loves banks.
Pierson: Funny you mention songs, Donald memorized the Soviet national anthem for his closing statement.
Mook: Hillary is opening with a beat poetry tribute to subprime mortgages called “Bring ‘em back!”
Pierson: Donald’s opener is a 12-minute story about how he hunts people.
Mook: Hillary will introduce plans to rename the White House “The National Mosque.”
Pierson: Donald wants to call the Lincoln Bedroom “the bone zone.”
Mook: Hillary will move the capital to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Pierson: Donald will bring back “Primae Noctis,” and he’ll travel the country enforcing it.
Paste: ENOUGH. This obviously isn’t working. I hesitate to even ask this, but before I hang up, can you each give me one prediction for tonight?
Mook: Hillary gets demolished so badly that the only noble thing to do is kill herself on stage.
Pierson: After less than 30 seconds in her presence, Donald realizes she is the messiah, and begins committing lewd sexual acts with his own podium to ensure that he doesn’t get elected and spoil the forthcoming paradise.
Mook/Pierson: Anything better than that, and we’ll be very, very pleased.
(Important note: Paste did not actually interview Pierson or Mook. This dialogue is fiction.)