A senior figure inside Mitt Romney's faltering campaign for the Presidency said this morning "My - erm, I mean his - campaign has careered off the tracks, hit the buffers, gone over the edge."
When asked by reporters to limit his argument to one railroad metaphor rather than several contradictory ones the man, tall and tanned with a wavy coiffure, opted for the hitting of buffers.
The Boston Globe's Chief Romney Correspondent sought clarification. "So the train has been halted on the track, there's no evidence of the train losing its intrinsic wheel to rail connectivity and therefore becoming a threat to off-rail traffic or civilians?" he asked.
The senior source from the Romney campaign (who was speaking strictly off the record and with a tracheal implant distorting his familiar bass voice into a high-pitched nasally whine) confirmed - after staring bemusedly at his inquisitor for about half a minute - that the integrity of the rolling stock was indeed intact, still attached to the track and no risks to any other transport users were foreseen.
But the senior insider, having smoothed his hair and ever so slightly tweaked his tie into a marginally straighter position, went on to state that there were however casualties on the specifically mentioned train.
"We've lost momentum..." he continued but was interrupted by anonymous campaign blogger, Joe Klein. "Surely if you've hit the buffers then you've lost ALL momentum," called out Klein. "Indeed you must have come crashing to a complete halt."
The campaign source was clearly becoming frustrated by the questioning. "We have not crashed to a halt," he squeaked, frenetically waving his arms. "We've just lost momentum and as a result I, erm I mean the campaign, are throwing a few dead weights over the side..."
The reporter from The Globe became hysterical. "Oh my God," he screamed. "The train hasn't stopped at the end of the line, it's gone careering on, probably in a shower of sparks and bodies are flying off it in all directions. It's surely the greatest disaster in US political history!"
As he and his fellow newshounds began to tap rabidly away on their keyboards and shout frantically into their cellphones the senior campaign mole rolled his eyes and then confided to his wife Ann that this development was going to be "right up there with freakin' Eastwood."