Last night, CNN held the first Democratic presidential debate. After covering the last two Republican debates, I had to see what my party has to offer. My editor was worried that it might be harder to make fun of my own party. I said, “Don’t worry — they’re still politicians.” So let’s join the adorable Anderson Cooper onstage and relive all the talky-talky with more than a few embellishments on my part.
Anderson Cooper: Good evening, and welcome to the first Democratic presidential debate. I’m Anderson Cooper, I’m wearing my Tom Ford “thinking glasses,” and I’m ready to moderate. First, let’s watch a short video that puts all the candidates into boxes for you.
Video: Tonight’s debate is between Hillary, the frontrunner; Bernie, the socialist, and three other guys. This is an election that’s breaking all the rules, and we’re in Las Vegas. Sh*t is about to get nuts.
Cooper: Tonight I will be assisted by Juan Carlos Lopez and Dana Bash. We will also have questions from a campaign camper that we sent around the country. Thousands of Americans stepped inside the camper to record their questions, take part in the debate and occasionally urinate. Note to selves for next debate: Americans have no respect for the campaign camper. Now let’s listen to the national anthem, sung by Sheryl Crow in leather pants, because we’re the Democrats, and this is how we roll.
Lincoln Chafee: I’ve been a mayor, a senator and a governor. And I have not been involved in any scandals, so, that’s a big plus. As long as the American public doesn’t look in the drawer of my nightstand, we’re going to be a-OK.
Jim Webb: My mom chopped cotton and picked strawberries. My wife is an immigrant. One of my kids is a nurse, the rest of them I’m having trouble remembering, but they do American things too.
Martin O’Malley: My most important role is as a husband and father, so if I become president that would really be a nice new high for me. I respect Obama, but we elected a president, not a magician, and that’s unfortunate. On a side note, I will be performing card tricks after the debate in Conference Room C.
Bernie Sanders: WE NEED CLIMATE CONTROL. WE NEED TO FIX OUR JAILS. WE NEED TO FIX UNEMPLOYMENT. LET’S TAKE BACK OUR GOVERNMENT FROM A HANDFUL OF BILLIONAIRES. THE CROWD LOVES ME.
Hillary Clinton: I’m the granddaughter of a factory worker, and the grandmother of a wonderful 1-year-old girl, who is also a factory worker. I want to help the middle class and make the tax system fair. I want the wealthy (you know, those guys, not factory kids like myself) to have to pay their fair share.
Cooper: Candidates, let’s start with the concerns people have about you. Secretary Clinton — you’re this, then you’re that, you’re up, then you’re down. What’s the word, Seesaw McGee?
Clinton: Anderson, I’m just a human being who was born on the floor of a factory. I learn things and change my mind.
Cooper: Not good enough. Do you change your mind based on who you’re talking to, Benedict Arnold?
Clinton: No, I have a wide range of opinions and I just share different parts of those opinions with different people depending on their differences.
Cooper: Bernie, no one likes a socialist. Defend yourself.
Sanders: PEOPLE JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT SOCIALISM MEANS. MY PRINCIPLES ARE WHAT PEOPLE CARE ABOUT. WE NEED TO BE MORE LIKE DENMARK.
Cooper: Denmark has five million citizens. I knew that off the top of my head. Do you consider yourself a capitalist?
Sanders: Do I consider myself a capitalist? You mean like casinos and Wall Street? No. I think everyone should have money.
Cooper: Chafee, you’ve been everything but a socialist. In fact, you’ve only been a Democrat for two years. Explain yourself.
Chafee: You’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to my principles.
Cooper: That’s pretty soft granite.
Chafee: Go f*** yourself, Cooper.
Cooper: Your turn, O’Malley. Baltimore is a bloated cesspit. Why would we want you to turn the United States into Baltimore which, by the way, is a weeping anal lesion of a city.
O’Malley: Let’s slow it down now and talk this out. Yes, Baltimore was the worst, but I’ve attended a funeral for a family of seven whose home was firebombed after they called the cops on drug dealers. I don’t think this story helped me.
Cooper: Webb, you’ve called affirmative action state-sponsored racism. Maybe you’re not so much of a Democrat?
Webb: I’m what you call an “old school” Democrat, and “old school” means “just a little bit racist.” African Americans have a unique history in this country, what with the slavery and the Jim Crow laws. But did you know there are people living in the Appalachians who are both poor and white? What about the poor white people?!
Cooper: Sanders, you voted against the Brady bill and for a bill that would allow Amtrak riders to carry firearms. Amtrak riders? Sir, have you gone insane?
Sanders: The NRA gives me a D rating. I’m from a rural state, and we think about guns differently out there.
O’Malley: I passed gun legislation in Maryland, but we have to do more as a country. We have to stop manufacturers from selling folks 4,000 rounds of ammunition without question.
Sanders: I AM FROM A RURAL STATE.
O’Malley: We have rural areas in Maryland, too, Bernie.
Cooper: Webb, you once had an A rating from the NRA. Do you believe that more armed people make us safer?
Webb: First of all, we need to look at who shouldn’t have guns, like criminals, gang members and the mentally incapacitated. But we also need to respect the tradition of those who want to defend themselves and their families from violence. Danger is everywhere, people, and I’m going to shoot it to death.
Chafee: I would try to work with the gun lobby and see where we can find common ground. I’d just say, “Come oooooooooon, guys. Let’s work together.”
Cooper: Let’s talk about Putin.
Webb: Hey! I want to talk about Putin, too! When is it my turn? I haven’t seen a waiter around here for over an hour!
Clinton: We need to stand up to Putin. Listen, diplomacy isn’t about getting the perfect solution, it’s about leverage. Sometimes you need to fondle the balls, but other times you need to squeeze them.
Webb: My turn? Thank you. I’ve been waiting for my soup for half an hour. Now, here are all the thoughts I have on Syria and its history….
Cooper: Time’s up. Sanders, you want in on this?
Sanders: What? Huh? No, I don’t want any milk on this! This is water!
Cooper: Clinton, let’s talk about how you messed up this email thing.
Clinton: Oy, here we go. Look, it was a mistake. But it’s being used by those awful Republicans to drive down my poll numbers.
Sanders: This isn’t good politics, but I agree. The public is tired of hearing about your damn emails.
Sanders: WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE REAL ISSUES FACING AMERICA.
O’Malley: Democrats don’t have to be defined by the email issues. We need to talk about the concerns of the American people.
Clinton: This could not possibly be going any better for me.
Don Lemon: Moving on. Here’s what someone from Iowa asked: Do black lives matter or do all lives matter?
Sanders: Black lives matter. And those words are important because-
[MEREDITH’S TV GOES BLACK. IT’S A WASHINGTON STATE AMBER ALERT. PLEASE HOLD.]
[AND WE’RE BACK]
Clinton: …early childhood education. We need a new deal for communities of color.
Webb: I hope I get the same kind of time to answer this question. You know who else is bad with time? My housekeeper. When I say I need my shirts by Wednesday, I mean Wednesday!
Cooper: Let’s talk about income inequality.
Sanders: WE HAVE TO BREAK UP THE BANKS LIKE ZAYN BROKE UP ONE DIRECTION.
Clinton: I told those banks to quit it. I say send them to jail.
Webb: Can I…
Sanders: He’ll get to you.
Webb: Yeah, right. That’s what that flight attendant told me, and guess who didn’t get a headset and had to miss Jurassic World?
Cooper: You agreed to the rules of the debate.
Webb: Well, my time is up, and unless my name is mentioned I don’t get to say anything. I don’t get equal time. It’s like when I went to my kids’ school for parent-teacher conferences — those parents in front of us got 20 minutes, but my understanding was that we’d all get 15.
Cooper: Chafee, you say Clinton is too close to the banks, but you voted for the bill that made banks bigger.
Chafee: It was a weird time, man. My dad had just died, I’d just been appointed to office, I just got to town a few days before…
Cooper: Are you saying you voted for something without understanding what it was about?
Chafee: …It was a really weird time, Anderson. I just got there.
Cooper: But what does that say about you?
Chafee: I don’t think you heard me, Anderson. I said, I just got there.
Cooper: Sanders, you’re the only one who voted against the Patriot Act. If you became president, would you shut down the NSA surveillance program?
Sanders: Heck, yes. I think the government is in our emails and websites. I’m pretty sure they’re reading my mail and stealing my pills, too.
Cooper: Everyone: Name one way your administration would not be a third term of Obama.
Chafee: I would end the wars.
O’Malley: I would protect the American people from big banks and Wall Street.
Clinton: I’m a chick.
Sanders: WE NEED A REVOLUTION.
Webb: I would work with both parties. Pretty smart, huh?
Dana Bash: Carly Fiorina is against paid family leave. She says it would mean fewer jobs and would be bad for business. What’s your reaction?
Clinton: That’s just Republican scare tactics. This will not destroy small businesses. I’ve been there, having been up all night with a sick baby and then having to go to court. It was bad times.
Bash: But people say it will be hard, and they don’t want another government program.
Clinton: Republicans are fine with big government when it comes to interfering with a woman’s right to choose or shutting down Planned Parenthood, but not when it comes to paid leave. And that, my friends, is what the kids call putting the microphone on the floor.
O’Malley: We expanded parental leave in my state. Maryland sounds pretty f***ing fantastic now, doesn’t it, Anderson?
Cooper: Last question: Which enemy have you made that you are most proud of?
Chafee: The coal lobby.
O’Malley: The NRA.
Clinton: The NRA, health insurance companies, drug companies, the Iranians, the Republicans….
Sanders: Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry.
Webb: The enemy solider who threw the grenade that wounded me in Vietnam, but he’s not around anymore… and that guy who dented my Saab and didn’t leave a note won’t be either if I become president.
Chafee: Thanks, guys! It was super fun running for president! I’m all done now!
Webb: I demand to speak to a manager.
O’Malley: I was pleased to be here with these wonderful people. You didn’t hear anyone say mean things about nice people, instead, you heard us talk about getting clean energy and doing good things. Goshdarnit, this country is going to be great.
Sanders: No one here can solve this country’s problems unless everyone stands up to the billionaires. There’s too much money being spent in this campaign. And if you’d like to donate to mine, please visit BernieSanders.com.
Clinton: Oy, those Republicans. I mean, blech, am I right?! America has been knocked down, but I will help us get back up. Our best days are still ahead.