Crawford, TX - The Bush administration today disclosed that the US Government, in cooperation with academic institutions and corporate R&D facilities, has developed a device capable of traveling through time. President Bush was informed of the device's completion in late May and has spent the past two months consulting with experts to determine how best to put the new time machine to work for the country.
During a press conference to inform the public of this dramatic development, Mr. Bush delivered a brief statement and then took questions from the media. "First of all, I want to let everyone know, not only in this room or in the country, but around the world, that the US will only employ this new technology for good.
"Working with a broad range of ethicists, we have developed strict guidelines for how we of the present can interact with the past. These guidelines, which take the form of a treaty with the past, will public after they have been ratified by the Senate. One of the major terms of this treaty is that the present cannot undo' events in the past, and while this is disappointing on some levels, I am assured that it is for the best.
"With this limitation in place, I am told that the greatest benefit we can receive from the past is access to ideas and technologies which may have been overlooked on not developed to their fullest extent. With this in mind, I am please to announce the scientific-political objectives for the first manned mission to the past, which will occur in September of this year. Because time travelers cannot travel to periods before their birth, we will be sending a team back to the 1970s to collect data and technologies that will prove beneficial to 21st century America.
"In consultation with a panel of experts, I have instructed them to retrieve the following information and assets: the Knight Industries Two Thousand (K.I.T.T.) Super Car, the notebooks of Dr. Rudy Wells - who developed the world's first bionic man, and a full set of my military records - just kidding about that last one."
The assembled media were clearly confused that Mr. Bush intended to retrieve fictional items from the past and their questions reflected this confusion.
Q: Mr. President, wasn't KITT a character on a TV program, and if so, how will bringing it to the present help make the nation safer?
A: A terrific question, very good question. I don't know if you've ever seen the program, but I have every episode on DVD, and let me tell you, that car can do things that the most advanced vehicles of today can't even approach. I simply want today's scientists to have the opportunity to study and analyze the car.
Q: But Mr. President, if the car is just "pretend", how much is anyone going to learn from it and what of value could they apply to today's problems?
A: I think your question is bit cynical, as Harry Truman once said, "Show me a mountain, and I'll show you a man, and if together we and that man can climb that mountain, we'll both see much farther than we would alone."
Q: On the issue of bionics, do you intend to force an astronaut to sustain a near-fatal injury to put the work of Dr. Wells to the test?
A: That is exactly why I am after his notes. We have been working on the issue of bionics for years and frankly, we are running out of astronauts to test on; and because of the cost of space flight, we'd started just tossing subjects out of airplanes and helicopters, which has greatly reduced the ardor of potential volunteers.
Q: Mr. President, I agree that these questions have become increasingly cynical. I think your plan makes good sense. Given that your father is left handed will you be sending - oh perhaps a troop of Boy Scouts - to find a left-handed smoke-shifter or left-handed screwdriver?
A: Actually, I hadn't considered that but I appreciate your thinking of my father. While I think it would be great, I think it might be too dangerous to send a group of boys into the past. I'll consider the idea and may add the items you've suggested to the list.
During the press conference, a number of Presidential advisors could be observed shaking their heads and rolling their eyes as Mr. Bush described the time machine and his plans for using it to save America. Once he had finished, the President thanked the assembled media and left the ad hoc press room.
At that point, the President's staff swarmed into the pool of reporters to assure them that Mr. Bush was simply joking and that he was well aware of how ridiculous his claims will have sounded. As they have so many times in the recent past, the President's aides were forced to encourage the press not to carry the Mr. Bush's comments in their various outlets.
As member of the press were leaving the ranch, several reported seeing the President donning a foil-covered helmet and running about a field with his arms outstretched.