Washington, DC - Calling the health-related retirement of Pope Benedict XVI "a tragic opportunity," congressional leaders have declared that America will field a candidate in the upcoming election for the next pontiff.
"It's a free world, isn't it?" demanded House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), responding to critics of politicizing the election. "America is entitled to have one of its own as the leader of over 1.2 billion Catholics."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) for the first time in recent history agreed with his colleague. "An American Pope would give us hope. For instance I hope to get my hands on the billions of dollars worth of gold that is stored in the Vatican. Now all we have to do is agree on a candidate."
Some leading contenders:
Clint Eastwood Is already fluent in talking to inanimate objects. His Spaghetti Western background means he's familiar with Italian/Vatican cuisine. Is used to leading sheep around on the High Plains.
Chris Christie Needs a miracle weight loss program to avoid imminent cardiac arrest. If elected Pope, plans to introduce The Loaves and Fishes Diet to slim down the faithful and build up the Vatican treasury.
Kim Kardashian "Kourtney and Kim Take the Vatican." Enough said.
Mitt Romney He never had a prayer as a national candidate, but hopes to acquire one now. (Say hallelujah!) Seems to have the Mormon demographic in his pocket, but with Mitt you never know.
Michael Bloomberg Has already written an addendum to the Ten Commandments that bans "sugary drinks," all tobacco products, and people over five foot six from entering heaven. "Now that's an immigration policy," Bloomberg was overheard saying.
Barack Obama The first African-American US president would love to become the first black Pope. There might be a problem with his baptismal certificate, however.
Sarah Palin Claims that she can see The Pearly Gates from her front porch, and that they are crawling with pedophile clergy. "If you outlaw peddling guns, only pedophiles will have pistols," Palin remarked. "If I become Pope (or is it Popette?) things are going to be different around here and up there."
Dick Cheney His transplanted heart has developed a Facebook page to find a more worthy recipient. So Cheney will soon require divine intervention to live on. And the papal robes will be a perfect fit, since Cheney already is a firm believer in his own infallibility.