“Can You Smell What The Fossil Is Cookin'?”
Via Think Progress:
Soon after the New York Times published an article exploring Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) unetheical relationships with lobbyists, McCain banished reporters covering his presidential bid — who have been said to be his political “base” — to the back of his campaign airplane.
But over the weekend, McCain reversed course, hosting a “thank you” cookout on Sunday for over 40 reporters from a wide variety of news outlets — including the New York Times — at his vacation home in Arizona.
Which leads us here...
EXT. CASA DE McCAIN, ARIZONA - MID-AFTERNOON
CLOSE UP - A ROARING BARBECUE GRILL full of hot dogs, ribs, and pork chops being poked at with a barbecue fork. WE HEAR the strains of Pat Boone's cover of “Good Golly, Miss Molly” tinnily keening in the background. CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal the chef at the grill, SENATOR JOHN McCAIN in mid-joke-telling laughter while still poking at the food. We are in the sprawling backyard of his palatial spread , full of picnic tables, coolers full of drink He is surrounded by a bevy of news personalities and fellow politicos dressed in casual, hang-out gear. They are there for the grub. rHE WEARS an apron emblazoned with the phrase, “Kiss The Chef...And By All Means, Blow The Lobbyist”. He continues his joke after a trademark sniveling laugh.
JOHN McCAIN:...and-and then I told those gooks—oh wait, lemme use the PC-term for 'em...my asian, opposition captors...who happened to be a bunch of fucking gooks, “Yes, I know, I been here long time, but for what it's worth, the accommodations still...wait for it...the accommodations are still...sucky-sucky! (gestures blow-job with hand -to-mouth several times). Get it? Come on, you guys get it! “Long time? Sucky-sucky?”
There are very few laughs at the grossly off-color “joke”. His brow furrows for a moment and then a bemused look crosses his face.
McCAIN:. But you know, my friends...(emphasised) when people are beating you senseless every day just 'cause you sport the red, white and blue, that''s when your patriotism is truly tested, .and you learn...the healing value of humor. (He pauses for a beat, then IN A HORRIBLE MOCK-ASIAN ACCENT) “Long time, sucky-sucky!”
The assembled group bursts into maniacal canned laughter. CHRIS MATTHEWS brays above the din.
MATTHEWS: Haaannh! Sweet drunken disciples...I think I fucking soiled myself! You are too good, Senator!
McCAIN: That's what the lay-tays keep telling me, right Candy?
CNN's CANDY CROWLEY horking down a mouthful of baked beans right out of the steaming pot alá Mongo from “Blazing Saddles”.
CANDY: (Dumbfounded and with a full gullet) Hmmmmmppphlllllbbbthhhht?
BACK TO McCAIN:
McCAIN: Screw it. I was throwin' you a bone. (He laughs and looks at everyone) Hey! An accidental funny. I threw Candy a bone. 'Cause y'know, she's no Norah O' Donnell if you get what I mean... (He mimes a panting dog)
There's a groan from most of the assembled.
McCAIN: (He drops the long fork and grabs at his arm) Goddamn, but my arm hurts...
The group reacts on cue and laughs again. Even Crowley, while spitting hot beans everywhere.
McCAIN: Ohhhh-kay! Who wants a wienie! Fresh off the grill!
WOLF BLITZER steps forward with his plate. He's wearing a pink polo shirt and hideous madras slacks.
McCAIN: I'll just bet you do, my friend. Well...you know the drill.
BLITZER (Sighs) Senator, must I?
McCAIN: Like always, Leslie. “Come on. Come get yer wiener, boy.”
Blitzer proceeds to get down on all fours and scuttle over in front of McCain.
McCAIN: Say it.
BLITZER: ( With a little shame) I...I want the wiener, sir.
McCAIN: (Looking down at Blitzer scornfully) Whose wiener, Leslie?
BLITZER: (Mutters) Your wienier, sir?
McCAIN: I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Say again, my friend?
BLITZER: (Barked through a rictus grin) Your wiener, sir!
McCAIN: Yer damn right you do! (He violently stuffs a wiener off the grill into Blitzer's mouth) It's good, right? You like it?
BLITZER: Stupendous, sir. Gak-k-k-k-k! (Chokes for moment) Stupendous.
McCAIN: I know you do. Who else wants some? (He swigs at a Schlitz “Tall Boy”)
With that, a frantic JOE SCARBORORUGH rushes through the crowd like a fullback, right up to McCain, knocking Blitzer several feet away.
SCARBOROUGH Me! Me! (He kneels there anxiously, eyes closed, mouth open in a smile.)
Senator McCain's wife CINDY McCAIN comes out the back door with a huge bowl of potato salad. She is in full Liz-Taylor-from-“Giant” high-falutin western girl gear—snug dark jeans, a gingham shirt and a cowgirl hat held on with a diamond tennis-bracelet strap. Her smile-locked face would make Nicole Kidman shudder in shocked disbelief. Down the steps she comes with the bowl, sunlight glinting off her hat-strap and the rhinestone-sized diamonds attached to the upper section of her shirt.
CINDY McCAIN: Tater salad for anyone who wants it!
The crowd “Mmmmm-mmmmms!”—just as much for the offered food as for her obvious natural, and “after-market” charms. Senator McCain shoots her the stink-eye and then kocks back a huge slug of suds.
McCAIN: (With an edge) Jesus Christ, woman! Can't you see it's friggin' lunchtime?
CINDY: (Quizzical) I know, John. (BEAT, but no laughter) I'm serving potato salad, not breakfast.
McCAIN: Wellllll...(Setting up a mean joke)...you coulda fooled me with all that goddamned pancake you came out here with! Henh-henh! (BEAT) Unnnnngh. My bayonet wound...
The group reflexively laughs again, even Cindy, who waves John off girlishly.
CINDY; Oh, John! You are a prize! A regular Avery Schreiber! (She goes to a table to dole out the salad)
McCAIN: (With a drunken edge and pushing the envelope) Hey, Cin! Katherine Harris and Aunt Jemima called! Something about...a shortage...
CINDY; (Shooting a Marcia Cross ice-dagger) Oh, you! “Shortages.” (Sighs and muses almost to herself) “How ever will we pay for this little get together? I wonder! And by the way John..I hear gas has gone up, so we're going to shut the “Straight Talk Express” down for awhile. Oh wait! You can start doing the “Straight Walk Express”, honey! How's that?
McCAIN: (Grumbling) Shutting up. Shutting the fuck up, dear. (Under his breath) Goddamned succubus...
CINDY: Excuse me, dear?
McCAIN: Can't wait to get you on the bus!, my love! You on the bus.
He laughs stiffly and then repeatedly STABS HARD at a rack of ribs on the grill as if he's trying to kill it, In his rage he flips it off the grill onto the dirt and then kicks at it angrily.
SENATOR JOHN WARNER walks up next to McCain and sees him kicking at the dirt-encrusted ribs.
JOHN WARNER: (Noting McCain's rib-kicking with a laugh) Funny, you don't look Jewish—no matter how much you pal around with 'ol “Holy Joe”.
McCAIN: (Wheeling with anger) Warner. Who the hell invited you?
WARNER: Johnny...I come here every year for this.
McCAIN: Well, I didn't Western Union you a Goddamned thing this year, Judas! So, agitate the tumbleweeds...not my friend!
WARNER: John! We've been friends too long...
McCAIN: Yer Goddamned right, my now-fucking enemy! You bailed on the war. My war! What kind of American blinks...(he slugs back more Schlitz)...at kicking brown-people ass, huh? We owe at least another fifty—no, make it a hundred years of brown-people ass kicking for “the 'Nam” (Then yells to all)—and by the way, my left ass-cheek hurts like holy-fucking hell even if nobody even touched me there!—
The crowd roars in approval, waving American flag favors right on cue.
McCAIN (CONT'D): But you blinked Warner! You blinked like Lindsey Graham at a titty-bar! So you are wienie eater-non-grata!
WARNER: John...be reasonable. I didn't really back down. (Nudges McCain and whispers) I pulled an “Arlen”. It's what we do...
McCAIN: (Yelling and jabbing his finger in Warner's cheat)) You son-of-a-bitch...if you don't leave here, I swear to Goldwater, I will take a hot coal off this grill and stick it right...in...your...beady, little eye!
Warner laughs it off, turning to the assembled, making the “crazy” spinning finger gesture as he turn his back on McCain.
WARNER: (Laughing) Cindy, did you put iron filings in Johnny's Postum this morning? I mean, wowee!
McCain unbeknownst to Warner has indeed picked up a hot charcoal ember with his tongs, and purple with rage waits for Warner to turn back. And the moment he does—McCain sneers and jabs the glowing briquet hard into Warner's left eye. It sizzles disgustingly.
WARNER: (Screams like a scalded dog as the assembled group gasps in horror.) Aiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! What the f-Oh my God! Oh my God! My eye! W-what have you done! My fucking eye! Omigod! You fucking lunatic! Why did you do that? Why?!!!
McCAIN: (Flipping an emotional switch to docile and dumbfounded) Do what, my friend?
WARNER: What? WHAT?! You jammed this-this Goddamned briquet in my eye! Oh God! I'm blind...I'm blind...
McCAIN: I did not do that, sir.
WARNER: Are you fucking insane? You just said...you said “you would take a hot coal off this grill and stick it right in my beady, little eye”! And then you did it, You did it! you fucking lunatic!
McCAIN: (Totally playing it off.) I don't think I said that, my friend. And I'm fairly certain I didn't do that either.
WARNER: I-I don't believe this! You just said it. You just did it! Am-am I imagining the fact that my eye—my eye!—feels like a Ruth's Criss steak right now?
McCAIN: John, I wish I knew what to tell you, but I simply don't recall saying or doing that to you. But whatever happened, I feel just terrible about it. We should put this behind us though, and move forward...
WARNER: Move forward? Is everyone here eating mad-cow infected meat? You people saw him! You saw him do this to me! Plain as day! Oh God, I'm getting dizzy...Wolf! You saw him! I know you saw him!
BLITZER: Well, in fairness Senator Warner though you may have seen me seeing this, some people here would say that perhaps I didn't see what you think I did. Let's be fair here...
WARNER: My God. My dear, sweet God. I need to sit down. I-I'm blind. John McCain maimed and blinded me...
SCARBOROUGH: For the record, you're hardly objective here, Senator...
CINDY: Come along Senator, We'll pack that with potato salad for now, and I'll make a call or two. Money talks.You'll have a new eye by tomorrow. You don't mind if it's a brown one, do you? They're easier to get around here...
Warner staggers inside with Cindy while muttering inconsolably “He took my eye. That crazy son-of-a-bitch took my fucking eye.” all the way inside. SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN SIDLES UP to McCain, watching Warner stumble painfully into the house.
LIEBERMAN: (Clucking his tongue) Too bad about John, there. You know, it's not so much that he left the barbecue...it's more like...the barbecue sort of left him, I guess.
McCAIN: Indeed, my friend.
LIEBERMAN: So. Any brisket there?
McCAIN: Not right now. Plenty of pork, though. Sorry.
LIEBERMAN: (Whispers) That was for show, John. Like it really matters to me? Hit me off with a pig foot. The greasy one right there!
McCAIN: (Piling Joe's plate high) Mazel Tov, my friend.
LIEBERMAN: Yeah. Whatever. I saw some Cheez -Wiz™ around...
McCAIN: On the picnic table over there.
Cindy comes back outside with several news cameramen in tow.
CINDY: John, the camera crews are here!
McCAIN: Thanks, Cin.
HE WAVES THE CAMERA PEOPLE OVER to a large open pit, and calls everyone else to assemble over there as well.
McCAIN: My friends...may I have your attention, please! Now, as you know, no Arizona barbecue is complete without southwestern-style pulled-pork. And I think everybody here—especially my friends in the Capitol are know for having a pretty big appetite' for pork anyways, am I right?
The crowd yells a resounding “Aye!”
McCAIN: So, we're going to do it down-home style...cooking it right in the ground. But first, we have to get a decent fire going to cook with. Now, as a barbecue expert, for a fire of this magnitude, I know for a fact that mere lighter fluid won't do...which is why I've trucked in a tanker full of gas from the Circle K station over on East Buckeye...
EVERYONE STEPS BACK a couple of steps at this news.
McCAIN CONT'D: Now, not to worry. Because I know what I'm talking about here. The truck is parked around the side of the house, so I have the hose from it running here. (He twists the nozzle a half-turn and the amber gasoline gushes into the hole.) You see, for a fire this size, we're going to need more than a splash or two. I figure about...150 gallons should get things going just so...
EVERYONE REALLY STEPS BACK a couple more steps—all save for Lieberman, who steps up next to McCain and feverishly whispers something in his ear.
McCAIN CONT'D: I'm...I'm sorry. I was mistaken. What I meant to say was that gasoline probably isn't the best fuel to use for this purpose, and...taking that into account my friends, 150 gallons of it would probably be just a little bit excessive...
Lieberman nods with self-satisfaction at McCain's side. The Arizona Senator TWISTS THE NOZZLE BACK only to see it snap off, and the gasoline now blasts into the pit, splashing up the sides and onto the lawn a bit.
McCAIN CONT'D:...Well, you get the picture. The general idea. I mean, it doesn't have to be gasoline per sé. The bottom line is...you...(he simply drops the hose into the pit with a splash as THE AIR BLURS AND SHIMMIES from the fumes.) you want a fire, you use an accelerant, it doesn't really matter which one my friends...
At this point John Warner STUMBLES OUT OF THE HOUSE, holding a clump of potato salad packed into his charred eye socket, his other hand clutching a cell phone to his ear.
WARNER: (Yelling) Cindy! The man from Mexico City says if you throw in letting a few trucks cross the border “no questions asked” he'll overnight the eye for 8 a.m. delivery tomorrow and—(He stumbles on the steps) God-damn...depth perception! Whoops!
Warner plows straight into the grill, knocking it over—ribs, wieners and coals a' tumbling across the lawn. Joe Scarborough valiantly throws himself between the coals and the near-full pit, blocking them while taking horrible punishment doing so. He wails in agony as he makes the ultimate sacrifice. All look on in horror at the sight, and a few quickly put on flag pins and lower their heads. Chris Matthews falls to his knees in prayer, practically bawling.
MATTHEWS; My God! This was just supposed to be a barbecue! And now it's a tragedy! An Amercan tragedy! Who would've thunk this thing'd end up with all of us...“choke!” Mourning Joe!
As the assembled solemnly lower their heads, one stray briquet rolls off the prone Scarborough's body and tumbles lazily towards the gas pit. WE SEE IT ROLLING IN SLO-MO as flecks of orange heat cling to it as it rolls ever closer to the pit. STILL IN SLO-MO, Blitzer sees it and screams “INCOMING!” in deep-pitched SLOWED-DOWN AUDIO and dives away with the rest of the press and politicos, save for McCain and Lieberman, who resolutely stand at the pit's edge, hugging in a grieving embrace. Just as the coal lips the pit's edge, Lieberman sees it, eyes widening for a moment and then closing tightly as his embrace of McCain does as well. WE GO BACK TO REGULAR SPEED.
LIEBERMAN: (Lips against McCain's ear) I've always loved you.
The coal drops in—and there is a flash of light and the roar of a thousand blast furnaces. A massive pillar of fire shoots skyward as McCain and Lieberman disappear in the sudden conflagration. Matthews' face is sunburned a deep and permanent red from being caught unawares by th eheat flash. Blitzer in spite of his last-ditch scramble has his beard singed off, revealing an odd, inverted cleft in his chin, as if a scrotum had been pressed there long enough to indent. Cindy's face literally melts like a peach-colored Crayola crayon. Most survive, but palatial Casa de McCain goes up like a lobbyist's skirt in a junket airplane's restroom. CLOSE-UP on the roaring wall of flames.
INSET OF OF CNN COMMERCIAL CUTAWAY SCREEN - LATER THAT EVENING
PLUGGING AN UPCOMING STORY—time-lapse stills showing the pillar of fire as seen from a satellite, CHYRON READS: “COULD FREAK ARIZONA WILDFIRE AFFECT PREZ RACE—AND WAS WRIGHT “RIGHT?“ IS THIS GOD DAMNING AMERICA?
INSET OF OF MSNBC COMMERCIAL CUTAWAY SCREEN - SIMULTANEOUSLY
MSNBC PLUGS THE SAME STORY—live shot depicting the blaze from helicopter-car-chase level, with photos of Candy Crowley and Cindy McCain inset and the word “MISSING!” under them. CHYRON READS: “OMG! WHERE ARE THEY?
INSET OF OF FOX NEWS COMMERCIAL CUTAWAY SCREEN - SIMULTANEOUSLY
FOX'S TAKE ON ARIZONA FIRE STORY—visual depicting the blaze in a split-screen where the other picture is a shot of from the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco also going up in flames. CHYRON READS: “WACO II? CLINTON TIES PROBED, UNNAMED SOURCES SAY.”
FADE TO BLACK