My fellow Americans:

Since that unforgettable day back in April, or possibly July, when I announced that I was willing to be president of the United States, a number of alarming developments have occurred:

The stock market crash has reverberated around the world, setting off a frightening and seemingly uncontrollable chain reaction of boring newspaper articles.

Geraldo Rivera got his own television show.

President Reagan has taken to appointing people virtually at random to the U.S. Supreme Court, an indication that he has lapsed still further into what we like to call his "hands-off" management style, to the point where his aides no longer trust him to make any statements he thought up himself. In fact, at the most recent presidential press conference, the aides actually brought a helicopter INSIDE the White House pressroom to drown out the president by going WHOPPA WHOPPA WHOPPA.

Not that I am criticizing him. I am not criticizing anybody these days, because I realize that, as a leading presidential contender, I will face intense media scrutiny into the lurid details of my own personal life. And please don't try to tell me you don't want to know the lurid details of my personal life, okay? Don't tell me you wish the darned media would for gosh sakes Focus on the Issues. Because I have been around the news game long enough to know what people really want the media to focus on. People don't come into their offices and say to their coworkers: "Hey! Did you see the story explaining where the Republican presidential contenders stand on the issue of tuition tax credits?" No, what people say is: "Hey! Did you read where Pierre S. du Pont IV was once arrested for stealing a brassiere?"

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The preceding was intended as a purely hypothetical example of the kind of lurid detail that people like to read about. We wish to stress that, to the best of our knowledge, Mr. du Pont has never been arrested for stealing a brassiere. As far as we know, he got clean away with it.)

The result of this intense media scrutiny is that the candidates have been scurrying around disclosing things about themselves before the press finds out about them. This has resulted in some very inspirational campaign oratory:

MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Ladies and gentlemen, the next president of the United States!

CROWD: (applause)

CANDIDATE: Thank you! I used to smoke pot!

CROWD: (applause)

A number of leading political figures, including "Tipper" Gore (ha ha!), have admitted that they used marijuana, although they all stress that: 1. it was a long time ago and 2. they deeply regret it. This second part is very important, because as the former hippie generation gradually takes over the world, it will become very difficult to find any politician who didn't at least TRY marijuana, so the candidates will have to compete on the basis of who liked it the least: BRUCE BABBITT FOR PRESIDENT "He Only Had Four Tokes"


VOTE FOR ALBERT GORE "He Tried It, But Threw Up"

As a leading contender, I realize I must "come clean" about my own past, before some nosy reporter locates the skeleton in my closet and lets the cat out of the apple cart, thus spilling the beans all over the can of worms that will break the camel's back. So here is my confession: Back in the 1970s, I did something that I am now very, very ashamed of. The only explanation I can offer is that a lot of other people were doing it at the time, although I realize this does not justify what I did. I am talking about: disco dancing. I deeply regret this, and I swear that I now have much more integrity. I hope that you, the voters, will find it in your hearts to forgive me and send me large cash contributions in exchange for being appointed to high-level federal jobs. We still have a few openings in the Cabinet.