American magician David Blaine set a new campaign stunt record yesterday by holding North Carolina governor Mike Easley, who said Tuesday that Ms Clinton "makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy" and possibly derailing Hillary Clinton's hardwon lead among voting pansies, underwater on the Oprah television show for a record 17 minutes and 4 seconds.
Blaine broke the previous campaign trail immersion record of 16 minutes 32 seconds, set earlier this week when Barack Obama's chief strategist David Alexrod held Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright Jr face-down in the bathtub of a Chapel Hill hotel.
The 35-year-old magician, who insisted that his feat was no trick or illusion, said that Governor Easley's struggles became weaker towards the end of the televised stunt.
"But hey, I feel great," the Telegraph quoted the silver wetsuit-clad American saying as a glassy-eyed Easley bobbed to the surface.
"I actually started to doubt I was going to make it because I'd never gone underwater with such a high-ranking inflatable," he told show host Ms Winfrey.
Apparently, Easley had sprung a slow leak halfway through but was able to maintain sufficient buoyancy to complete the stunt.
Blaine, whose previous stunts include spending 44 days with Tony Blair in a glass box hung near the Thames in London, had been hoping to get to 23 minutes while holding down the struggling Easley in a water-filled sphere on Oprah Winfrey's television talk show in Chicago.
Before the latest attempt inside a sphere filled with 1,800 gallons of water and one bloated and gaseous elected official, Blaine spent 23 minutes acculturating his lungs by inhaling pure methane.
There's no enhancement, no cheating, no mirrors, he told Winfrey, adding that while he normally makes his living as a sideshow magician specializing in the outrageous, presidential campaign stunts were not much different, being generally about pushing the limits of human credibility.
Tragic Rabbit, On the Road Again, Chapel Hill