Published on October 25th, 2012 | by msalt


After the Second Debate: A Palindromic Play


(The site of the second presidential debate, October 2012.  Mitt Romney, at his podium, is launching into the mighty conclusion of his closing speech.  It does not come out the way he planned.)


Emote! Vote Mitt Romney, odd doyen Mort. Time to veto me.
(The debate is over; everyone is confused.  Frustrated over the gaffe, Romney and Paul Ryan leave the debate hall abruptly while reporters scramble to identify the mysterious Mort and figure out what a doyen is.)


Mood dim as senile Mitt Romney, odd elf, fled doyen Mort — timeliness amid doom.

(The parking lot outside the debate hall.  Romney paces around, embarrassed and unloading to a sympathetic Ryan, whose nickname – surprisingly – is Mama.)


Red? I redden, won eraser. Obama, Mama, bores a renowned derider.
(Ryan, forgetting that his boss doesn’t drink, asks Mitt to join him in a glass of white wine. Romney actually considers it for a moment.)

In a Chardonnay, Ryan? (Nod.) Rah! Can I?
(Actually, he can’t.  Suddenly, they hear voices approaching.  Romney motions for silence; they step into shadow and watch.  Bill and Hillary Clinton walk by without noticing them.  Bill is bragging about his post-presidential diplomatic efforts.)


Egats! O, hot Diana Rigg, I ran aid to hostage.


(She is lost in thought, still frustrated over her failed attempts to remove Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad from power.)

Airy, snide, I died in Syria.
(Meanwhile, Joe Biden and Barack Obama are walking out of the hall. Biden is reminiscing about the night’s dinner.)


We had Alaska yak salad. Ah! (Ew.)

BARACK (distracted)

Yak? Okay.
(Suddenly, the four candidates find themselves face to face in the dimly-lit parking lot.   It’s awkward, so Ryan tries to break the ice by explaining himself in a friendly manner.)


I tan.  I mull.  In a way, Obama, I am a boy – a wan illuminati.


Nay, Ryan.
(The younger Ryan is offended by the President’s dismissal.  He responds with a schoolboy taunt.)


Deep in age? Veer gay, Obama? (Mama boy!) Agree, vegan? (I peed.)
(An expert on the President’s proclivities appears and rejects the accusation.)


Nay, Ryan.
(Biden retaliates with more passion than insight, attacking the Republican nominees for advocating increased trade with Japan in Japan’s currency, the Yen.)


Yen, morons? No, Romney
(The President muses aloud that this line of attack might actually be effective.)


Yen mortify, fit Romney.
(As tempers flare, the challenger mocks our unemotional President for proposing increased research funding.)


Yo, boffo rot! I detest Obama. R&D? Drama-bot set editor off. O, boy.
(The play ends with the two nominees marching off in opposite directions, each vowing to crush his opponent in the next debate, using the same  words.)

MITT and BARACK (in unison)

To the war! Data maims. I lob my snide lie, veiled in symbolism. I am a tad raw, eh, tot?



           — Mark Saltveit, the reigning World Palindrome Champion, is a comedian and writer based in Portland, OR.

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About the Author

Mark Saltveit is a writer, standup comedian, skimboarder and dad based in Middlebury, Vermont. His improv show "Palindrome Fight!" will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Aug. 5-29th 2022 at the Kilderkin Pub, 67 Canongate, at 7:30pm each night except Tuesdays.

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