CLEVELAND, OHIO - Political fervor reigned at Case Western Reserve University on Tuesday night when Vice President Dick Cheney flatly refused to be Pokey.
Even though Senator John Edwards won the wardrobe coin toss that determined he would be Gumby during the vice presidential debate, Dick Cheney was defiant in his refusal to dress in orange.
"I'm Gumby, damnit!" Cheney yelled at Edwards and Gwen Ifill of PBS, moderator of the debate, before the debate aired. "I'm the current vice president, and I want the green jumpsuit!"
"Well, you are so far from Gumby, it's pathetic," Edwards drawled to Cheney. "Besides, you've got such a pallor from your heart trouble that orange will actually make you look healthier!"
"No way, Pokey Boy!" Cheney screamed. "You're from the South, and even a retard knows that everyone is pokey in the South!"
Edwards, ever the Southern gentleman, finally turned to Ifill and told her that he'd wear the Pokey garb citing that Cheney appeared to be working himself into another heart attack over the matter.
"I came here to debate a man, not a corpse," Edwards told Ifill. "I'll accept the orange jumpsuit."
To begin the debate, a feather-clad Ifill took the stage to deliver an opening song from the PBS children's show Sesame Street: "Debate starts with a 'D' - and it's followed by an 'E' - and then you find a 'B' - followed by a great big 'A' - Then you'll see a great big 'T' - and then another friendly 'E' - 'D-E-B-A-T-E' whee! - it's time for debate today!"
Ifill then began her questions, and the candidates debated issues such as the war in Iraq, national health care, and the Bush-proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage.
Against the advice of presidential aides, Cheney surprised Ifill when he took a position for gay marriage, telling her that he wanted Bush to be re-elected because he hoped for a White House wedding next term when his lesbian daughter, Mary, will marry comedienne and talk show hostess, Ellen Degeneres.
"Mary confided to me that Ellen adores flowers," Cheney said. "They really have their hearts set on a Rose Garden ceremony."
Surprisingly, Edwards agreed with Cheney that gay unions should be legally recognized, but Edwards stated that marriage laws belonged to states, not to the federal government.
To Cheney's credit, he did not refer to Edwards as Pokey during the debate.