01 September 2011

After Standoff with House Republicans, President Agrees to Wear Chicken Suit

A suit of the kind Obama is expected to wear on Thursday.

WASHINGTON -- Following another series of acrimonious, politically charged exchanges with Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Barack Obama has agreed “in a spirit of compromise” to wear a chicken suit when he addresses a joint session of Congress on Thursday to unveil his proposals to boost employment during the current economic crisis. White House suggestions — that the President wear a standard business suit, or perhaps a Superman costume — were rejected early in the discussions.

At one point, insiders say, negotiations became so tense that Boehner threatened to require the President to deliver the speech while licking the Speaker’s shoes. After series of exchanges in which the style of footwear was debated, White House officials belatedly pointed out that boot-licking would make it impossible for anyone to understand what Obama was saying, and the two sides compromised. The President will now deliver his speech entirely in Pig Latin. At the same time, House and Senate Republicans will stand with their backs to the podium while singing “Hit the Road, Jack.”

In previous speeches, Obama has worn a business suit
while Boehner hummed quietly to himself.

Historians were quick to point out that no Speaker had made such demands of a sitting U.S. President. However, for a joint session in 1910, then-Speaker Joseph Gurney Cannon did urge President William Howard Taft to “wear something slimming,” and in 1813, then-Speaker Henry Clay insisted that President James Madison “stand atop a crate or box, perhaps of that modest kind which may have at one time contained soap or such the like, in order that we may hear you better.”

White House aides told reporters that this latest compromise “clearly demonstrates that this President is willing to do whatever it takes to get Americans back to work.”

But political analysts for both parties worried that the ongoing tensions between the President and Speaker might further erode public confidence in government. When asked for comment, Boehner asked, “Isn’t that the point?” He added, “Make sure you write down that I won another one.”

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