The climate in Washington is such that in order to be a political candidate for any office you must confess to every sin you committed in your life.

Winkel, a presidential contender, couldn't understand it. He asked his campaign manager, "Why do you want me to expose my private life to the public?"

"Because if you don't they will think you are hiding something much worse. What is wrong with going on TV and telling everyone you were a shoplifter when you couldn't afford to buy your mother a gift for Christmas?"

"I never was a shoplifter and I could always afford to buy my mother a present."

"I didn't say you couldn't, sir, but we're in a tough battle.

"Blaisdorf has confessed to hiding out with a college cheerleader in a motel in South Bend, Indiana. Squiggly has told the world he used the Lord's name in vain when he sailed in the America's Cup. Rocabottom has fessed up to leading a panty raid on the USC Tri-Delt sorority, and Duggan has admitted to reading Penthouse magazine since he was 9 years old. We're the only ones who are not begging for forgiveness."

"It seems to me that the country would vote for the one candidate who has nothing to hide."

"Maybe. But we would be taking too big a chance. Think back, sir. Couldn't you have committed adultery in your youth?"

"It was so long ago. Who can remember?"

"Maybe it happened in Iowa when you were too tired to think?"

"I never committed adultery. I wouldn't have been able to handle the guilt."

"Okay, then, have you ever been drunk and disorderly and arrested and tossed in the can?"

"Certainly not. I don't drink."

"We have to come up with something. You never smoked pot?"

"Never, not even from a potted plant."

"Sir, have you ever flirted with a woman other than your wife?"

"Why would I do that if I intended to be president of the United States?"

"The voter is going to find you awfully dull. What about wild beach parties?"

"I went to beach parties but only in my capacity as a lifeguard. This is getting ridiculous. I know of nothing I have done that the public need forgive me for."

"There has got to be something we've overlooked. Have you ever gone to Bimini in a boat with a volunteer from your campaign?"

"Yes, but she slept on a mine sweeper when we got there."

"That's it! You have to say that you sailed out of Miami with another woman who was a model and also happened to be a good friend, and you're not going to sin anymore."

"But I hardly knew the girl."

"By the time we're finished denying it the whole world will love her. Then finally the public will know you as a swinging human being who made one mistake but still belongs in the White House."

"Will adultery make me human?"

"A lot more human than supporting a balanced budget."

1987, Los Angeles Times Syndicate