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The Mother Of All Debates

One of the most interesting things to come out of Dan Rather's interview with Saddam Hussein last week was Saddam's offer to debate President Bush. This proposal was widely regarded as ridiculous, and that is what attracted me to the notion. Rather said he wouldn't be interested in moderating this debate, but I would do it in a second. I'd have some professional talkers and question-askers with me, and it might go something like this:

Barbara Walters: Good evening, Mr. Presidents. This is one of the most terrifying and serious moments in history. With that in mind, I'd like to start out by asking both of you the same question: what's your favorite color?

President George W. Bush: Blue.

President Saddam Hussein: Purple, orange, red, and green.

Me: Mr. President, you were only supposed to name one color.

Saddam: I'll do whatever I want. What are you going to do? Go crying to the U.N.?

Dr. Phil: I can't just set here like a wart on a toad any longer. Neither one of you fellas ever admits that he's wrong. How much of this squabbling is actually due to both of you painting yourselves in corners, and not knowing how to save face?

Mr. Bush:: I didn't paint myself in a corner. Saddam Hussein painted me there. It was his paint, and his brush.

Saddam: I do not have any paint. We destroyed all of our paint.

Walters: Mr. Hussein, you married your first cousin.

Me: What's the question?

Walters: I don't have a question. I just wanted everybody to know he married his cousin.

Dr. Phil: President Hussein, you've lied to the world over and over again. Why should we start believing you now?

Saddam: I have never lied. It was my translator who said all those things.

Me: Mr. President, considering your education, shouldn't you be able to speak better English?

Saddam: I cannot...

Me: I was talking to the other president.

Walters: President Bush, how much of your anger toward President Hussein has to do with your father?

Mr. Bush:: None. It's not a personal quarrel. It's a struggle to keep the world free from people like Saddam who taunted and then tried to harm my daddy.

Dr. Phil: President Hussein, worldwide, you're about as popular as a veal cutlet at a PETA convention. You claim to be loved by your own people, yet there's always been a rumor that you have a food taster. Is this true?

Saddam: I have had many food tasters. They keep dying.

Me: You have the title, "President," but don't you think the so-called "election" that put you in office was a little suspect?

Mr. Bush: When are you Democrats going to give it up?! I won fair and square!

Me: I was talking to the other president.

Dr. Phil: President Hussein, everybody who's got more sense than a two-by-four knows you've got all kinds of hidden weapons. Why not just admit it, and get rid of them? And if you really care about your people, wouldn't the best thing for them be for you to step down and allow freedom and democracy in your country?

Saddam: I'll answer that question tomorrow. Tonight, I'd like to offer you a chance to be my food-taster.

Me: You've outraged nations all over the world. Even your traditional allies no longer support you. How does it feel to have so much of the world view you as someone who does whatever he feels like and puts himself above the United Nations?

Saddam: I cannot ...

Me: I was talking to the other president.

Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver