President script
Saturday, September 29, 2007
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Garrison Keillor: Coming up right after this message from—

(PHONE RINGS)

GK: ...hang on a second, we've got a phone call coming in—(PICKUP) Hello? (MAN ON PHONE) It's for you.

Martin Sheen: For me? Who'd be calling me here? (FUMBLING WITH PHONE) Hello?

TR (BUSH): President Bartlett? It's George W. Bush. A.k.a. The Decider.

MS: Mr. President-what a surprise—

TR (BUSH): Thanks for taking my call. Got a couple of questions that have been kind of festering here—if you don't mind—

MS: What can I do for you, Mr. President?

TR (BUSH): Well, I don't know if you knew it but I'm starting to come toward the end of my tenure here.

MS: Yes, I've heard people mention that now and then.

TR (BUSH): Kinda feel like I'm sliding down the slippery slope into a pig wallow.

MS: What can I do to help?

TR (BUSH): Well, I'm thinking about my legacy. Damage control. You faced a lot of trials and tribulations as President of the United States. And you came out clean on the other side. Wanna know how you did that.

MS: Well, I was just an actor, playing the President on TV.

TR (BUSH): I know. Me too. That's why I'm calling you. Thought we could talk, mano-a-mano.

MS: Yes, but, you see, I was playing a role, reading lines my writers wrote for me.

TR (BUSH): Yeah, tell me about it. What do you think I'm doing? I got a writer and his name is Cheney. Just not so sure he wrote me a very good show. Wrote me a lot of lines like, " I will continue to articulate what I believe and I believe what I believe is true." I mean, what is that?

MS: I don't really know.

TR (BUSH): Not exactly "of the people, by the people, on the people."

MS: No—

TR (BUSH): Listen to this line: "People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you." I look at that line now and I say, "Why did I read that?"

MS: Well, maybe you need a new writer.

TR (BUSH): I'm getting to be more and more a jerk every episode—it's getting tiring.

MS: Where do you want your character to go?

TR (BUSH): Somewhere I don't have to talk a lot. I see myself as more of an outdoors guy, wearing a big hat.

MS: So Texas then.

TR (BUSH): Texas, right. A state that is dangerously overgrown with brush. I feel my character could really get in there and clear it out.

MS: Well, there are other roles you could audition for. Cowboy roles. Can you sing?

TR (BUSH): Heck yes. Been singing all my life. I like to sing while I work out. (SINGS)

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

MS: You know, I could sort of see you as a kind of James Dean, like in "East of Eden" — the son who doesn't quite fit in — the misfit—

TR (BUSH): What are you saying, Bartlett? You think I'm a misfit? Say, what if I got into romantic comedies? Always wanted to make a movie with Meg Ryan.

MS: I don't know, Mr. President— I think people see you as more of a dramatic actor.

TR (BUSH): Thank you.

MS: I think you have a knack for tragedy.

TR (BUSH): People tell me that. I just don't see it. So what do other Presidents do when their terms are over? I gotta figure out something fast.

MS: You could write your memoirs—

TR (BUSH): No thanks. I'm trying to forget most of that stuff.

MS: You could get to work on your presidential library.

TR (BUSH): I'm thinking more like a Presidential Fitness Center. Lotta treadmills and machines.

MS: That could work, too.

TR (BUSH): Well, I gotta get moving. Cheney just handed me a new episode. It's called "Divide and Conquer." So I gotta go run lines.

MS: Good luck with that.

TR (BUSH): Hey thanks for talking with me. Bartlett. See you around.

MS: Bye. (CLICK)

GK: The President of the United States, ladies and gentlemen—

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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