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A Dodge Dart in every garage: Tom and Ray run for Prez

Originally published in Current, Sept. 18, 2000

Car Talk hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi ended America's breathless anticipation Sept. 13 and announced their co-candidacy for President of the United States. Their slogan: "Two Zeros in Zero-Zero."

"Admittedly, we may be lacking a few qualifications for this office," Ray said. "But, with this slogan, we figure at least no one can doubt our honesty."

Unable to agree which one of them would be veep, the Brothers Magliozzi reached a joint-custody agreement. If elected, Tom will be President Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with Ray filling the Oval Office chair Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. According to their web site,, they hope to convince Garrison Keillor to cover Sunday, creating the tantalizing possibility of a bipartisan, NPR-PRI White House.

The Magliozzis intend to target the swing vote. "We're also hoping to win the Cha-Cha vote, the Tango vote, and, if we get lucky, the Limbo vote," Tom says. Check their web site for weekly position papers.

Interviews with cartoon candidate offered by Duke 2000

Originally published in Current, Oct. 2, 2000
By Stephanie Lash

Running out of Jesse Ventura jokes and noting the dearth of chuckles inspired by this year's presidential candidates, Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau is filling the void with his own candidate: the drug-addled con-man Duke. And in the spirit of equal time for all candidates, public radio is bringing Duke to the airwaves.

Minnesota Public Radio has begun distributing one-and-a-half- to three-minute "interviews" with Trudeau's cartoon candidate. These spots, free to stations, feature Time essayist and PBS contributor Roger Rosenblatt discussing campaign issues with Duke, whose voice is provided by actor Fred Newman.

Trudeau's relationship with MPR began around two years ago, when his strip poked fun at Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's attempts to cut funding for public radio, according to MPR. The network's senior v.p. for public affairs, Will Haddeland, wrote to Trudeau expressing his appreciation for the humor and the two started regular correspondence. Trudeau and his wife, television anchor Jane Pauley, are both fans of MPR's A Prairie Home Companion, and Haddeland snagged them tickets to a live show taping in New York City.

"Over time they had the conversation that the campaign lacks humor, and had the idea that here was something [they] could do," said MPR spokesman Tony Bol. "He loved the idea of creating a piece that had a radio element."

Trudeau writes the scripts, which are recorded in New York and posted as audio files on Duke's "official" campaign web site: MPR will contribute post-production clean-up and distribute the spots via satellite. Trudeau is offering the spots at no cost to MPR.

Duke is no stranger to Minnesota, having headquartered his campaign in Coon Rapids, Minn. He's now embarking on a tri-city tour (the small towns of Coon Rapids, Fridley and Anoka, Garrison Keillor's hometown) in the state to spread his campaign message of "compassionate fascism." The character is modeled after former Rolling Stone journalist Hunter S. Thompson, and is clearly as outspoken as his inspiration. In the spots, Duke ruminates on current events ("If I had a dollar for every time I had to teach someone manners, I sure wouldn't be here doing this crappy radio show with you," he says about Bobby Knight's firing) and political hot-button issues ("A fundamental part of my plan to build a bridge back to the 20th century is to protect and preserve America's greatest traditions: rodeos, chili cook-offs and capital punishment").

Bol says the project is a inherent outcome of the relationship between Trudeau, public radio and Minnesota. "This is a family of people who share a demographic," he says, noting that the strip will be familiar to many pubradio listeners. "And Garry Trudeau is an avid listener, he enjoys A Prairie Home Companion and he knows pubradio people enjoy Doonesbury. All these things feel natural."


. To Current's home page
. Later story: There's serious campaign coverage as well, including a joint PBS-NPR Voter's Guide, Nov. 1, 2000.
. Outside link: NPR's Rewind has been satirizing the campaign repeatedly.
. Outside link: Car Talk's campaign site.
. Outside link: Trudeau's Duke 2000 campaign site, including the interviews with Rosenblatt.

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