KARL ROVE: Gentlemen, we have a problem. It's called Spain.
PRESIDENT BUSH: This had better be serious, Karl. Your little emergency phone call here is costing me gym time. You know I don't go for that.
SECRETARY RIDGE: Sir, the bombs that went off in Spain killed some two hundred people. It's the worst terrorist attack in the history of Europe.
PRESIDENT BUSH: So?
SECRETARY RIDGE: The entire continent is saddened and traumatized. These were ordinary civilians, with families. Some were children, even pregnant women. Spain has been at peace for a half-century. Blood was everywhere. It's a terrible human tragedy.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Karl, what the hell is this guy whining about? Is there a purpose to this meeting?
KARL ROVE: We lost the election.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: We had this timed out pretty carefully, George. Two days was just about the right gap before a national ballot. We figured the bombs would go off, the nation would freak out, be furious with ETA or Al Qaeda or both, and our hard-liners would sail in.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Exactly right. We've gone over this a dozen times. So what's the problem?
KARL ROVE: Well, we know you haven't had time to be briefed, George. And we didn't want to pull you out before your bench pressing. But something went dreadfully wrong.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm up to 188 now. Six reps. None of you puny wimps can touch that, can you? Where's Arnold today? I thought he was going to pump with me.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: He flew back to California, George. He's canceling the Enron suit, like you told him to.
SECRETARY RIDGE: Enron took about $60 billion from California rate payers during the deregulation crisis. Governor Gray Davis sued them for about $9 billion. Now Governor Schwarzenegger got the taxpayers to fund a $15 billion bond. So he's going to drop the Enron suit.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, Kenny Boy's been through a lot. I heard he even had to sell two or three of his mansions. He deserves a break, don't you think?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL ASHCROFT: Next week, the Department of Justice will be dropping all investigations of potential wrong-doing by Kenneth Lay, Sir. Indicting major backers of our Administration is an act of terrorism.
VICE-PRESIDENT CHENEY: Yeah, John, who do you think he is? Martha Stewart?
ALL: Loud, prolonged laughter.
PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's all this got to do with interrupting my work-out?
KARL ROVE: Well, we got it wrong in Spain. We thought the bombings would result in a landslide for our people there. Instead, they turned the nation even more strongly against the intervention in Iraq. The new Socialist government will now pull their troops out.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Karl, are you losing your touch?
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: I think it's a fair question, Karl. Especially with this nonsense about bringing Rudolph Giuliani in to run as vice president.
KARL ROVE: Get a LIFE, Dick. Literally. We're talking here about a set-back in Europe that could really hurt us.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, what the hell happened to Plan B?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: They choked, George. They wimped out.
SECRETARY RIDGE: Plan B? I'm sorry, did I miss something?
KARL ROVE: We kept you out of that one, Tom. You've got a weak stomach.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Or weak cajones. Like those damn Spaniards.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL ASHCROFT: Cajones? You mean Jewish holy men?
KARL ROVE: Those are co-haines, John. Like that guy that makes the ice cream.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Right. Cohen. Ben Cohen. My doctor says...
ATTORNEY-GENERAL ASHCROFT: Those Cohens are liberals. I understand there are traces of marijuana in that ice cream.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Cajones, gentlemen, if any of you spoke Spanish like I do, are the things that make men men. If our Spanish friends had them, when they saw the election going bad, they'd've cancelled it and called out the troops -- like we plan to do here. Why'd they wimp out?
KARL ROVE: We don't know yet. We're trying to find out.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Maybe there just wasn't enough time.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Hell, there was time enough to call in an air strike. All it takes to call off a damn election is one nice blast from Fox News. Look at Florida.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Too bad Jeb's not governor of Spain. Be a good job for him.
KARL ROVE: Well, it does look like time may have been a factor. We may need a week or so, and maybe more than just one bombing to call off a national election.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: I think we're going to have to look very closely at that for 2004. If your numbers continue to tank, George, we're gong to have to find a way to cancel the election here. The computer rigging and what happened in Spain just isn't going to cut it.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Don't they have an army over there? Don't they know how to use it?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Cowards. Those Spaniards are just plain chicken. Look at Christopher Columbus.
KARL ROVE: We're not sure calling out the army would have cut it in Spain, Don. We're not sure how the army would have responded.
SECRETARY RIDGE: We have indication a substantial majority of the Spanish army would have refused to fire on their civilians in this instance. Many of them would have supported the new regime, or gone AWOL.
PRESIDENT BUSH: AWOL? What's AWOL?
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Absent without leave. Far as I'm concerned, anybody that goes AWOL ought to be....
KARL ROVE: Don't go there, Don.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, the real question is, if we have to do something like that here, how will our own army respond?
SECRETARY RIDGE: It may vary unit by unit. Some will follow orders. Some may not.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Well, then the ones that will follow orders will just have to shoot the ones that won't.
KARL ROVE: The reality is, gentlemen, that if we are losing to John Kerry come, say, November 1, we'll have to seriously consider our options. We've operated on the assumption that a simple terrorist attack would....
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: November 1 might be too late. We've got Osama coming out in mid-October. But we haven't gotten that much bounce from Saddam, and the liberals are already yapping about an "October Surprise" with Bin Laden.
KARL ROVE: They're also predicting the terrorist thing. But if it's big enough and powerful enough there's nothing they're going to do to stand up to it. They'll all fall in line. It just might take a few more explosions and killings than we thought.
SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Who's idea was this election thing, anyway. Let's just call it off now and get down to business.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah, guys, listen, I gotta get back to the weight room.
KARL ROVE: George, this may pose us some real problems. I realize the United States is not Spain. But we may be running low on options here.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, Rudy Giuliani sure isn't going to help you much.
SECRETARY RIDGE: You have the legal framework and the military ability to call of the fall elections any time you want. The Supreme Court will certainly go along.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: How about we call it "Operation Duck Hunt."
PRESIDENT BUSH: Call it what you want, guys. I'm tired of campaigning. I'm tired of John Kerry. I'm tired of all this negativity. In times like these, I consult my favorite philosopher, Jesus Christ.
SECRETARY RIDGE: You mean the Sermon on the Mount?
PRESIDENT BUSH: The what?
SECRETARY RIDGE: The Sermon on the Mount. It's when Christ preached peace and human harmony and....
KARL ROVE: Don't go there, Tom....
PRESIDENT BUSH: Sermon on the what? Is that where God tells Jesus to cancel the national elections? Next meeting, I want Mel Gibson here. In person.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL ASHCROFT: Let us pray.
The Free Press: The first of these transcripts came unannounced to the e-mail address of The Free Press (www.freepress.org) in November of 2002. Since that first posting, the author has written us using the name "Lee Waters." We make no definitive statement as to these articles' true origin. To read the first nine transcripts visit, click here. © 2004 by Lee Walters.