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December 14, 2003


Following is a report we received from Ted Habte-Gabr, insane person and Field Coordinator of the Dave Barry for President Rampaging Juggernaut:

My hotel in Cleveland was next to a Sign store. Knowing that I would be in NYC a couple days later, I got to thinking, “Today Show or bust!” So I got a really nice looking professional banner -- red, white and blue, that said "Dave Barry for President", and the slogan, “(your political beliefs here)”, just below it.

Friday morning, I headed for the outdoor crowd at the Today Show. There is a fenced in area where fans are permitted in after going thru a minor security check which involved wanding me, presumably, for firearms, etc. and then they ask to see my banner. The exchange went like this:

NBC Security: Let me wand you real quick.

Ted: Sure, no problem. Do you want me to take my shoes off?

NS: (smiling) no that’s not necessary, but we’ll need to see your banner.

Ted: (complyingly unfurls banner—6’by 2’, a serious banner!) Here we go.

NS: Not sure we can let you in with that.

Ted: You have got to be kidding. What’s the problem?

NS: This is political. We check the banners to make sure they are ok with NBC. Just a few minutes ago we turned down a “Yankees Suck” banner.

Ted: Yeah, that’s tasteless. Good call, but this isn’t political. Dave Barry is a humorist. It’s a joke.

NS: But he’s running for president.

Ted: Yes, as a joke. Remember Pat Paulson? Dave’s been running since 1992. It’s a joke. Definitely not political.

NS: You can talk to my supervisor if you want.

Ted: Sure. (super is summoned by radio and arrives shortly)

NS: This guy wants to take this banner in there. He says it’s a joke, and not political.

Supervisor: I don’t get it.

Ted: It’s a joke. Dave Barry is a humorist and runs for president every four years. He’s been on the Today Show and even talked about his campaign on the air.

Supervisor: Sure looks political to me.

Ted: (I reach into brief case and produce an actual photo of Al Roker holding a Dave Barry for President bumper sticker in one hand and giving the thumbs up in the other.) Here, look, even Al Roker approves. Check out this picture. He’s even giving the thumbs up! He gets it.

Supervisor (thinking): What if someone bigger than Al Roker has a problem with it?

Ted: Someone bigger than Al Roker?

Supervisor: You know what I’m talking about. I mean some NBC boss.

Ted: They’ll get it. It’s a joke.

Supervisor: I can't assume what they'll think. Sorry, but I can’t let you in with it.... That’s a well made sign... THAT's a joke? It’s political as far as we are concerned. Sorry but I can’t let you in with it.

Ted: We’re organized. You might say it’s an organized joke.

Supervisor: If I let that thru, what’s next, the Dean people?

Ted: No probs, sir. Thanks anyway. I’ll go make a “I love you mom, John 3:16” banner.

Supervisor: Are you a comedian or something?

Ted: No, I’m in presidential politics.


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