In the Democratic presidential campaign debate two nights ago in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus, the candidates were asked questions posed by the press. The one TheDirk offered was “What is 2+2?” This is what followed:
Moderator: What is 2+2?
(None of the candidates stepped forward to answer first, so the moderator pointed to Mrs. Hillary Clinton.)
Clinton: I’d be happy to answer that one. You know, one of my heroes has always been of course Frederick Douglass. You can ask Bill. I uh I know everything about him. Did you know he had kind of wild white hair? Also… But he probably answered this very question when he was just a young boy teaching himself math in the ramshackle library in his parents’ slave quarters. And he probably answered it as well as anyone could. Now, in my 35 years of service on behalf of–
Obama: But you’re avoiding the question. The American people need to know that you can be direct with them and, right now, you are not.
Moderator: Mr. Obama, could you answer the question? What is 2+2? Just real quickly.
Obama: Absolutely. But I don’t think the American people want to hear the same old answer to the same old questions. Do I have an idea of what these two numbers added together will be when I’m in office? I’m figuring that out. But I’ll surround myself with only the best and the brightest and the most inspired to join me in changing business as usual in Washington and in answering mathematical questions such as this one. One thing that Ronald Reagan was sort of smart about is–
Clinton: You want to be just like Ronald Reagan? Wow! And you think Reagan’s ideas are better than anything Democrats every thought of? And you want to lead a murderous cult of fanatics with Regan tattooed on their eyeballs?
Clinton: Well, you just said you did! I mean…Ha! Ha! Ha! HA! You heard it, right, folks? Listen, I’ve been changing business as usual for 35 years. Come on! The question is what is 2+2! If we can’t answer that, what can we answer? And I can tell you the answer without the help of a bunch of bureaucrats. You know, John Brown Russwurm, I think I’m pronouncing that right, has of course always been one of my heroes. Russwurm, 1799 dash 1851, was an African-American abolitionist from Jamaica, known for his newspaper, Freedom’s Journal. The words “African-American,” “abolitionist,” and “Freedom’s Journal” all link to other articles particular to those subjects.
Moderator: If we can just get the answer.
Obama: Well, that’s really for the voters to decide. But hopefully those voters trust that the answer they think it is is actually the same one I think it is too. Definitely. I’m not afraid to say it. By the way, I’ll tell you one thing 2+2 is. It’s a lot less than the number of dollars we’re spending in the Iraq war, a war Hillary voted yes for.
Moderator: So you said that that is one thing 2+2 is. Are there other things 2+2 can be?
Obama: It can be up to as many as probably three other things.
Moderator: Ah ha! So can I assume you mean to say that 2+2 is four?
Obama: For? For what? For change in Washington or for business as usual? For continued erosion of our reputation throughout the world or for a return to when the United States was seen as a beacon of hope? Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we celebrate tonight, was, he was a great man and I always try to emulate him when I speak. His message of hope, his –
Clinton: He was a tremendous leader but he did need some slight amount of help to get his initiatives passed into law.
Obama: I resent that extremely racist remark.
Clinton: See, you’re using the race card to avoid the question that was asked of us. You know, one of my heroes has always been this black gentleman I don’t know the name of. And when I’m faced with a tough question such as this, I take a look in the mirror — and, by the way, it’s the type of mirror most widely used by South Carolinians, whatever that type is. There’s no other kind; it’s the best! But, anyway, I–
Moderator: 2+2, please.
Obama: Brutha! I forgot to say “brutha” in this debate so far. So there it is. I’m sorry, continue, Hillary.
Clinton: Well, I certainly will. Ha! Ha! Anyway…
Edwards: Four. The answer’s four.
(The audience applauds loudly. Clinton and Obama take note of this.)
Clinton: Four. That’s what I’ve been saying all along here. I mean ha! ha! HA! HA! HA!
Obama: I said it was four back in 2002.