"These seminars are designed to provide students with a solid understanding of the interplay of (the media and politics), as seen from the perspective of former Vice President Al Gore and other lecturers with intimate knowledge of press-government relations."
— Course description for Columbia University class now being taught by Mr. Gore.
BUSH AT COLUMBIA: PROF. GORE BRINGS IN A GUEST LECTURER
Gore: Class, this is going to be quite a surprise for you, but we have with us today a very special guest lecturer. I suspect you already know a great deal about him, so I'll skip the big introduction and present to you, George W. Bush.
Bush: Thank you. Well, let me start by saying I'm truly honored to be here this morning, and let me reiterate that just as our nation mourned your great loss in that horrible shooting, we applaud your remarkable recovery. I don't know about you, but from what I've seen so far, I'd say Columbine High School is back!
Gore: Columbia. Not Columbine.
Bush: No, the shooting was at Columbine. I remember that.
Gore: You're at Columbia. University. In New York.
Bush: But you told me this was Columbine.
Gore: What? Why would I do that? No, I'm at Columbia. You're at Columbia.
Bush: Well I still think you... all right. Doesn't matter. As I said, no matter where I am, I am honored to be here this morning.
Gore: Not morning. It's 12:01 p.m. Afternoon. It's a math thing. Go on.
Bush: All right...
Gore: Sorry to interrupt.
Bush: Fine. Well, as I understand it, I'm here to talk about the the influence of the new media...
Gore: Putty brain.
Gore: What what? I said petit Bahrain. I was just thinking, unlike the U.S., Bahrain is quite a small country, yet wields significant influence in its region, particularly the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. Am I saying that right?
Bush: Look, I don't...
Gore: Of course of course. Stick to what you know. Good thinking. I'll just sit in the back here. All ears. Go on.
Bush: Right... right. Now as y'all know, Mr. Gore and I have had some experience with the 'new media,' and particularly with how technology plays a big role in influencing the outcome of elections. Like on election night, pretty much all the media people said I had lost Florida...
Gore: You did.
Bush: Whaddya mean by that?
Gore: By what? Oh, 'Hudid'? I was just thinking about the Hudid Dynasty that ruled Saragossa, Spain, in the 11th century. Certainly you know this, George, so stop me if you want to add anything, but in 1039, Sulayman ibn Muhammad ibn Hud, who I believe was also known as al-Musta'in - and please correct me if I'm wrong - seized the Tujibid capital of Saragossa and established a new dynasty. After al-Musai'in's death, the most powerful of his sons proved to be al-Muqtadir, who recaptured Barbastro in 1065.
Bush: I don't see how...
Gore: You're right. That's history. Water under the bridge. Got a new leader. In Spain. I'm sure you know who that is.
Bush: Yes, thank you, Professor Gore. In fact, I've spoken to President Aznar. President Jose Maria Aznar.
Gore: Really? He was prime minister last time we talked. But you're the president. Please, where were you? Go on.
Gore: I'm sorry, could you speak up? We couldn't hear that in the back. And yes, there really is a difference between a president and a prime minister.
Bush: Anyway, the elections. So, as we saw with the election results, the media were able...
Gore: was. Sorry, it's 'was.' Not important. Just grammar.
Bush: ...was able to make early predictions, but it also got it wrong, and...
Bush: Hey, did you just say...?
Gore: What? Oh, Fukue? It's a city in Japan. I might be mispronouncing it. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I was just thinking, you know, it's not so far from Ehime, where those poor students were from, the ones on that fishing boat. The media has really been on that story. I thought you might share your insights on the coverage.
Bush: I hadn't planned on it. I was gonna talk about the need for tax cuts, though.
Gore: Ah, we've been discussing that very thing in class. The recent announcement in India by Atal Behari Vajpayee... I am saying that right, aren't I?
Bush: Yes. Vajpayee. I know that one now, but...
Gore: You're such a help. So, Vajpayee, in India, wants to levy a 2 percent emergency relief tax to pay for damages in the Gujarat earthquake. It seems a questionable strategy, considering Indian inflation is at 8 percent, while growth in Gross Domestic Product has fallen to 6.4 percent. Then again, the RBI did recently cut interest rates.
Gore: Runs Batted In.
Bush: Ha! I knew that.
Gore: I'm kidding. It's the Reserve Bank of India. But anyway, you were going to comment on India's tax policies? Fascinating.
Bush: No I wasn't. And if you'll let me get finish a thought...
(Gore makes zipper movement across mouth, folds arms)
Bush: ... I was gonna talk about media reaction to my tax cut proposal. Some media types claim my tax cut is short-sighted, a quick fix, and that kind of bias spreads awful quick on these liberal-leaning Internet message boards...
Gore: ad praesens ova cras pullis sunt meliora. It means...
Bush: You gonna let me do this?
Gore: I apologize. You want to translate. Be my guest.
Bush: Translate... I don't... Look, you know I have no idea what you just said.
Gore: 'Eggs today are better than chickens tomorrow.' It's Latin.
Bush: You're still bitter, aren't you?
Gore: Well, we're out of time, class. I'd like to thank Mr. Bush for speaking to us today. I'm sure we've all learned a great deal.
Bush: Yeah, well, I hope you give your next lecturer...
Gore: Whatever. Solonga Fukwad.
Bush: Okay, so who's that, the prime minister of the Congo or somethin'?
Gore: No, why?
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