This is an amazing moment in our country's history. It came as a total surprise to me.
Below is a transcript of Weekend Monkey's press conference, held yesterday afternoon at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California:
Weekend Monkey :
Hidey Ho, Primates - and members of the press. Thank you all for coming.
I have an announcement to make:
After a lot of soul searching (and a bout of rehab) I have done a lot of thinking about the way things are going in this country - and I have decided that things are too serious for me to just stand on the sidelines any longer.
I called this press conference today to announce that I am forming an exploratory committee as the first step towards seeking the nomination of the Democratic party as its presidential candidate.
I'm running, and I'm in this to win.
Like lots of you primates, I'm unhappy with the direction this country is going, and I feel that it's going to take a monkey to straighten things out (thumps chest).
I'm looking forward to getting my message out to the primates and being chosen as their leader..on to Washington!
I'll take questions now.
Ann Compton, ABC: Is this a joke?
Weekend Monkey: I'm one hundred percent serious. There are issues in this country that need addressing, and I'm just the monkey to do it. Besides, why do you think I bothered to feed you journos all that free booze? You, in the front row please....
Mark Silva, Chicago Tribune: Weekend Monkey, with all respect, you have very little experience in public life..
Weekend Monkey: Neither does Obama, but you got no problem shilling for him over at the Tribune! Besides I'm cleaner than him, with smaller ears, and my lack of experience in public life just proves that I'm a real outsider, somebody that made their own way from the jungles of the Hollywood Hills to stand before you today! (hoots, thumps chest) And that's the Real Banana! You, in the back please..
Olivier Knox, AFP: Olivier Knox,Agence France Presse , Mr. Monkey. What are your positions on international affairs?
Monkey: Hey, I'm open to all affairs, and pretty much any position! This monkey knows how to have a good time! (crowd laughs)
Knox: But, Mr. Monkey...
Weekend Monkey: Keep your shirt on, froggy. I have extensive experience in international relations, especially in the Muslim world. A project I was recently involved in with two high ranking members of Islamic society gave me a special insight into their traditions and culture that I doubt any of the other candidates share. Yes, please?
Bill Plante, CBS: Thank you, Weekend Monkey. Why did you choose to run a a Democrat? And are you concerned at all about being able to compete effectively with the Democratic front runner Senator Clinton?
Weekend Monkey: Here's how I see it, Bill.There is a major opportunity for an alternative candidate in the Democratic party today for a true voice for the primates. I mean, who have they got to speak for them? Chris Dodd, Mr. Wall Street? John Edwards with his multimillion dollar estate? I mean does anyone trust lawyers anyhow? (reporters laugh). As for Senator Clinton, I look forward to debate and have something to say to her....IT TAKES A MONKEY!
I'm extremely savvy politically, and believe me, the way I see it there's a real opening here for a monkey to take charge and lead.
I had ample opportunity to discuss this with my good friend Senator Edward Kennedy..(reporters grab pens and talk among themselves excitedly)
Ed Henry, CNN: Ed Henry, CNN Mr. Monkey. Excuse the interruption but did you say you talked to Senator Ted Kennedy about this?
Weekend Monkey; You betcha, primate. We recently shared a -uh-medical facility together and we have many tastes in common. As I said, Senator Kennedy and I had a number of discussions about the direction of the country, the Democratic party and the role that I, as an outsider candidate could play. And Senator Kennedy will be advising me in certain areas as soon as he's released back into society.
Ed Henry, CNN: (amid hubbub) Am I to understand that Senator Kennedy has endorsed your candidacy?
Weekend Monkey: Let's not trip over our own feet here, Primate. This is at the exploratory stage, okay? Senator Kennedy can talk for himself...at least most of the time. You in the front please..
Michael Abramowitz, WAPO:Do you really think America is ready for a monkey president?
Weekend Monkey: Hey, have you taken a gander lately at what we got sitting in the White House right now? I'd say we weren't too far off! (reporters laugh and high five each other)
Ok, ok...look, I have faith in America that my monkeyness will not be an issue for the primates. I want to be judged for my ideas, and I think once the primates get a whiff of what I have to offer they'll be lining up behind me to push me into the Oval office. The aroma you smell is the smell of victory! Next, you please..
Don Gonyea, NPR: How will you be conducting your campaign, Weekend Monkey? What is going to be different about your candidacy?
Weekend Monkey: I'm glad you asked that. I will attempt to make this a campaign based on the issues, rather than one of personality. I mean, I can sling poop with the best of `em, but I'd prefer not to.
I also plan to pursue the one thing that, in my experience, influences the primates more than anything else - celebrity endorsements.
This campaign will be an adventure for me and for the country, and I plan to file regular columns as time permits, giving the primates a monkey's eye view of the backside of our sordid political process. As the true outsider candidate, I want to involve the primates in the zoo that is politics-
(breaking in, Helen Thomas, Hearst): - Monkey, what is your position on I - raq?
Weekend Monkey: Lady, I've never seen your rack and I probably don't want to. (reporters giggle)
Again, thank you all for coming....help yourself to a coupla drinks on your way out, we'll do this again soon..