Swing Vote (2008) Script

SWING VOTE


After a hotly contested race, Americans go to the polls today... in what promises to be a very close election.

The Republican Andrew Boone, hoping to hold on to the Oval Office... by edging out... the Democratic challenger Donald Greenleaf.


Bud... Bud.

Bud!

I'll call... I'll call him back.

If we had a phone, you could. Come on!

Goddamnit! It's cold.

We're gonna be late again. You need a shower.

Can't believe you slept in your clothes!

Leave me any hot water?

I don't know. Water heater fix itself?

Christ, Molly! Why don't you just take the day off, okay?

I'll write you a note.

Now! I'm not going to tell you again!

Get up!

Bud!

Alright, I'm coming!


What? Egg salad.

Again?

You like egg salad.

Well, not every damn day I don't. You could mix it up a little.

We're on a budget.

You wanna eat better? Drink less beer.

Fine. Fine.

And don't forget today. What's... what's today?

Election day, dummy!

I'm supposed to do a report on you voting, remember?

I already told you before I'm not even registered.

I registered for you in the mail.

That's great, I could get jury duty now.

It's your civic responsibility. It's my civic, my what?

It's your civic responsibility.

My civic responsibility? Where you learning this crap?

Mrs. Abernathy.

Well, stay away from her.

She's my teacher.


Sign this.

What is it?

A questionnaire. I'm supposed to ask you about your politics.

Well, go ahead.

I already filled it in.

I wanted you to sound smart.

Give me the first question anyway.

What's your political affiliation?

Alright, I'm a conscious objector.

It's not a war, Bud. It's an election. And you are an independent.

Independent? Why in the hell would I be an independent?

Because the two party system... has neglected the needs of the working poor.

Let me tell you something, baby... Here we go again.

The voting doesn't count for a goddamn thing.

Just a way to make you feel like you're in control of something.

It doesn't matter who you vote for, we can't afford insurance and... if you get sick, I'm gonna have to start selling my blood again.

Mrs. Abernathy said every vote counts. It's a social contract.

It's a social contract. This Mrs. Abernathy is full of shit.

Meet me at the polling place after work.

Fine.

You forgetting something?

Bud, screw this up and I'm leaving you.

Do good!


Where...

Where the hell is Dewey?

He got laid off.

Bullshit! He got insourced.

Insourced?

Insourced. Instead of exporting our jobs to Mexico... they're importing Mexicans to take our jobs.

You're paranoid, you know that?

Attention! The opening this morning is officially cancelled.

I can't even read the damn signs no more!

Our days are numbered, fellas. You mark my words!

These hombres work twice as hard for half the money.

I just figure they need this job twice as bad as us!

Whose side are you on?

I don't take sides, Lowell. Just stating the obvious.

Next thing, they'll be taking away our right to vote.

You voting, Bud?

It's a social contract, isn't it?

Who are you voting for?

Shit if I know!

I think I picked up a couple shades. Looks like an eight.

What do you think, Marty?

I don't like the margin in Florida.

Bus some young Republicans down to the polling stations in Palm Beach.

Make sure they're tall, they're blonde and they're men.

Because old Jews see a pack of angry young white males... and they're gonna think twice about getting out of their car!

Kennedy was a nine. And he put a man on the moon.

That's what we need. Something to shoot for.

A defining moment. Like... I don't know.

Cure for cancer.

Ohio run the gay marriage ad every twenty minutes.

Let's see if we can't get those God fearing bastards off the fence.

We take a bunch of scientists, put them in the desert somewhere.

Like the Manhattan project. Are you listening to me? I'm serious about this.

I think that cancer is going to be a tough nut to crack in one term, sir.

So, we make it a ten year plan.

Lincoln got to see the end of slavery? No.

Did Kennedy get to see the moon shot? Nope.

No! But they got the credit! It's the idea that counts.

The guy that sets the goal gets in the history books!

Hope and positivity! Marty, the American people want a bright... shining smile to represent the promise of this country.

Take old Georgie there.

Boy, he was off the charts.

They wanted to make him King.

Son of a gun!

Thank you, thank you for coming.

Galena and I would like to thank America... for this glorious opportunity.

I have met people of every race, color and creed... during this long campaign.

I pledge to you that my White House will be a rainbow house.

It'll be open to people of all colors and creeds.

Now, please, go and vote. We need your support.

That was great. I'm gonna go do press.

Great.

Greenleaf! Greenleaf!

Gallup has you down by a point.

CNN, USA Today, has us up by two. News has us down by sixty.

What message are you trying to get out to the undecideds today?

The same message we put out yesterday, last week and last year... when we started this campaign and that's why we're going to win.

Because we have the answers. Not platitudes and jingoistic rhetoric.

This is the truth train operation real deal.

In recent days, the president has aired ads claiming Greenleaf... has vacationed at a nudist colony.

Come on, now, that's a tired accusation. It's pure fiction.

Then, how do you answer for the photos? Right wing blogo-smear, that's how.

I could stand here and perpetuate the rumor that as a young man... the president had a gambling addiction, but I'm got going to sink to their level.

Despite eye witness accounts and documentation.

They sling mud, we sling ideas.

Still, if Greenleaf loses, you'll be 0 for 7 on the national scene.

Thank you, Betty. Sorry, folks, that's all I have time for.

Leeches!

Why it's important to vote.

Many brave soldiers sacrificed themselves.

A right we take for granted.

For the people. By the people.

We the people!

I can't read my writing.

All the world's great civilizations have followed the same path.

From bondage, to liberty, from liberty to abundance... from abundance to complacency. From complacency to apathy... from apathy back to bondage.

If we're to be the exception to history, then we must break the cycle.

For those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Very good, everybody. Very good.

Hold this.

Okay, remember, no running till you get out to the playground.

Your last one was great. I'd like to use it on the news.

Molly? Yes.

Molly, come here.

This is Ms. Madison. She's the reporter from the news.

Hi, Molly. Hi.

How you doing? Good.

Your essay was very thoughtful.

Thanks.

Ms. Madison is going to show your essay tonight.

Isn't that exciting? Yes, madam.

Tell me something. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I go back and forth. Either a veterinarian or chairman of the Fed.

Where's Bud?

Went to take a leak half an hour ago. I heard his name over the loudspeaker.

What'd you have for lunch?

Egg salad. You? Hard boiled.

Hey, Bud.

Just giving you a heads up.

Management wants us to cut another ten percent.

Well, you are management, Carl.

Look, you haven't punched in on time in six months.

So, I'm five minutes late every once in a while. What is the big whoop?

You took thirty-one sick days this year, Bud.

Well, I gotta kid, Carl. She brings it home from school.

Shit! Goddamnit!


Well, hell, Carl!

You could have showed me your footage when you walked in.

I know we went to school together, Bud. I've always liked you.

You gotta give me one good reason why I should keep you.

Why I can keep you.


All hellsabelle!

Sorry you lost your job.

That's alright, Henry. Just...

As soon as take your money, I'm going from fired to retired.

Hey, Bud! Yes?

Molly is on TV!

- Apathy back to bondage. Geez!

If we are to be the exception to history, then we must break the cycle.

Curly, what time you got? Nine past seven.

God!

God, man! Shit!

Goddamnit!


PLEASE, INSERT YOUR BALLOT ERROR CODE - RESTART


I hurt the top of my head.

Come on, lay down.

I'm so sorry, baby.

I want to live with Mom.

Me too.

New Mexico is a classic swing state.

- Mrs. Madison? Speaking.

I'm calling from the New Mexico election board.

- The what? The New Mexico election board.

Madam, did you cast your vote at a Texico polling station last night?

I voted in the morning.

In the morning. Alright.

Is there something the matter?

No, no, sorry to bother you.

It is amazing. With every state but New Mexico reporting... we're now in a dead heat for the American presidency.

Each candidate with virtually the same amount of electoral votes.

270, the magic number to win. This is a real photo finish!

And it goes to whoever wins the popular vote in the state.

All five electoral college votes then swing to that party.

Well, they don't call it the land of enchantment for nothing.

Whoever takes New Mexico, takes the White House.

It's déja vu again. 2000 presidential election came down to Dade County.

400 votes in the state of Florida, out of a total of 105 million cast.

If this is a certified tie, neither the candidate would receive the majority.

Do we even have a president to deal with this?

Pursuant to the 12th amendment, the House of Representatives would decide.

That hasn't happened since...

John Quincy Adams defeated Andrew Jackson back in 1824.

We're talking rare.

No, this isn't a great civics lesson to the people of this country?

If anyone in New Mexico didn't vote, he be kicking themselves right now.

The latest reports coming in, Curry County still too close to call.

This election is down to a single county. Is this even possible?

Listen, John, there's only 653 registered voters in Texico.

And they've already recounted those votes.

I know. With that information and a dollar, I could buy a chalupa!

Everyone I know who voted has been personally called.

So what?

So, the election. The fact that it's down to Curry County... it has something to do with Texico.

Oh my God. Call you back!

Bud!

Come on!

God, my head!

What? What time is it?

There's some people here to see you.

Some people?

They look official.

Child services? That's what I'm thinking.

Okay. Here we go.

Mr. Johnson, we would have called first, but you don't have a telephone.

No, no, no, we got a phone.

It's just not connected right now. But I'm on it, you know.

I'm not gonna say it's been easy since the wife left, but... we're getting on fine. Sure are.

And I'm gonna pay these off, I swear. Just as soon as I find a new job.

A new job? Yes.

I used to be in this Willy Nelson tribute band. I was thinking about... getting the guys back together again, soon as our bass player gets paroled.

And the drinking, I know it, I know it looks bad.

And licking that sucker is at the top of my list.

Please don't take away from me.

I'll do anything you say, I swear.

She's just my only good thing.

Mr. Johnson, we're not from Social Services.

No?

We're from the State Election Bureau.

Fuck! Thank you, Jesus!

I'm Secretary of State Brower. And this is Attorney General Wyatt.

Mr. Johnson, did you cast your vote last night?

Last night, did you vote?

That's right, it's my civic duty, isn't it?

Indeed it is.

Mr. Johnson, is this your signature?

I guess.

You guess it's your signature?

No, no. That's right. That's my signature.

Did you retain your stub?

What stub?

The perforated stub on top of your ballot.

Where's that perforated stub that I gave you for your school project?

I've got it.

It's him.

Yeah, it's him. What do you mean, "him?" Me, him?

Sir, your vote didn't count.

Mr. Johnson, it's our duty to inform you... that you are entitled to recast your ballot in a timely manner.

What if I don't want to?

Bud!

Alright then, how about if I, how about if I just whisper it to you then?

Right here we'd get it over with, right now and you can listen too!

No, sir, there are strict rules and legal procedures.

Legal shit. Shit, fellas, I can't afford a lawyer.

You're not in trouble. You don't need a lawyer.

However, I will have to administer an oath.

An oath?

An oath. Please, place your hand on the Bible.

Do you, Earnest Johnson... swear to recast your ballot in the spirit of the law?

Yeah, yes, sure. Okay.

So noted.

A petition will be filed on your behalf and a date will be set for your revote.

Does this put me on some sort of fast track list?

You know, for like jury duty?

Considering the gravity of this situation, keep all of this a secret.

Have a good night.

Sorry.

You should be! I could get into all kinds of trouble because of you!

Gosh, Molly!

Why can't you learn just to let things be?

I told you this was important to me, but you never listen!

Another astonishing development: New Mexico Elections Bureau is reporting... a single irregular ballot is holding up a final decision in the state.

As I said, a single ballot. That's one vote, folks!

This really couldn't get any stranger, MSNBC has learned that the voter... has been identified and has agreed to recast the ballot.

One voter will decide the fate of the state's five electoral votes.

On this bizarre day, no one will soon forget, one American citizen... will effectively choose the next President of the United States.

Apparently the electronic voting machine malfunctioned.

The ballot was scanned, but the machine died before the vote was counted.

It's an anomaly.

No shit, Larry! What polling station was the machine in?

Texico, New Mexico, sir.

Is that a place?

Where the hell is Texico?

New Mexico, sir, Curry County.

New Mexico election law dictates if a voter's right is violated...

The voter shall be-entitled to recast the ballot. I know.

Alright, kids, we're going to war.

A map! Somebody get me a map!

There's one schmuck standing between us and the White House. Find out who it is.

We can't do that legally.

Just find him.

We were supposed to my cytoplasm out of Jell-O today.

What kinda kid would rather sit in a crummy classroom... than be out here?

What kind of father goes fishing when he should be looking for a new job?

The kind who would just like... to spend a little more time with his daughter.

That's who.

Fine. Fine.

Anyway, I've been thinking.

How refreshing!

Jesus! You gotta quit being such a smart ass all the time?

And you've got to stop using Jesus as a cuss word all the time!

He's a billion people's Savior.

Alright, fine, okay? I get it.

Fine. Fine.

I wish... your mom could be here... to talk to you about everything that's going on.

I really do.

No, she... no, she can't.

She's just, she can't, baby.

Bud.

Next Tuesday, is bring your father to school day.

So? I want you to come.

It's not gonna embarrass you that I don't have a job?

I don't care.

I want you to come anyway.

Think you can remember? Of course.

How?

Well...

I'll write it on my forehead.

Can I go to school, now?

Yes. Just one more cast.

Why don't you go start the truck.

Try to get a two shot, alright? Okay, come on!

Earnest Johnson!

Yes? Kate Madison.

Hi, there. Hi.

Shit! You're the lady from the news.

I am, and I'd like to ask you a few questions.

You know, you're much prettier than you are on the TV.

Thanks. I would...

Don't get me wrong, you're pretty on the TV too.

Just, we got an old set that kinda "squirshes" you.

Squishes everybody.

I believe, Mr. Johnson. I believe...

You can call me Bud.

Bud. I was hoping you could tell me why those men... flew from Santa Fe, to see you in the middle of the night.

Well, actually, I kinda promised to keep that a secret.

You mean, you're going to recast your vote.

Well, shit, I guess that I guess it ain't that much of a secret then.

Now, listen, Bud, you need to watch your language.

We're taping this for TV, okay? The language?

Goddamnit, yes of course!

The question now is, who you voted for and are you going to vote the same way?

Remind me again who's running?

What you're saying is, you're keeping an open mind?

Yeah, that's...

That's the kinda guy I am.

You gotta be kidding me!

This is OJ big. Bigger!

I gotta call network!

John, let me break the story.

I thought I was gonna die in this shithole.

You said that when the time was right, you'd give me a chance. That's the time!

We'll be back to a real market.

The city! With elevators and Chinese restaurants and crime and traffic.

I got the tape of Mrs. Zachary's prize winning sow.

Screw Mrs. Zachary. And screw the sow!

You promised me.

Get network on the phone. Don't screw it up.

You won't regret it! Better not! Darlene!

So... is your dad coming to talk to our class?

I don't know. Doesn't really leave the house much since my mom left.

Mine left too.

She's pursuing a singing career in Albuquerque.

I'm going to move there when she becomes a big star.

And she's gonna take me on tour and everything.

She'll probably do a concert in Austin.

I could get you free tickets.

Maybe. Guess I could borrow my dad's car.

I'll wait till he gets drunk. Sometimes he passes out.

Do you think I could try your skateboard?

Okay.

I'm the king of Curry County, John, and I've been 15 years at this desk.

I feel for you, Ted. Don't make me call security.

Holy crap!

You, desk! Sit!

People, we go live in 30 seconds!

From this point on, the news counts!

So excited, I got my accent back. My god!

And cue graphics!

And cue music!

And cue!

Good evening. This is Madison, coming to you from Curry County, New Mexico.

Over the last 24 hours, the American political process... has ground to a virtual standstill as the world watches... waiting for the outcome of an election. Today, I uncovered the identity... of the person the entire world has been looking for.

The one swing voter who will decide the election.

Those of you hoping to hear that decision will be sorely disappointed.

Because you are about to meet a registered independent... who claims to be keeping an open mind.

Imagine, on this man's shoulders... stands the future of the free world.

Just the kind of guy I am.

Let it never again be said, that a single vote counts for nothing.

Bud!

Bud!

What?

There's some people outside.

Geez, you gotta stop waking me up like this, okay?

You're gonna kill me.

There are some people outside!

People?

God!

No, not there! Out front!

Oh, God... What now?

Dad, hurry up! Yeah, I'm going, honey.

There's a lot of people out there.

Okay, honey, let's see what the fuss is all about.

Is that him?

Bud!

Mr. Johnson, any decisions yet?

Holy shit! What do they want?

I don't know.

Go turn the TV on, baby.

We are in the midst of a historic moment.

The swing voter has finally been identified.

We go live now to a trailer in Texico, New Mexico.

Earnest Johnson made an appearance just moments ago.

Apparently, overwhelmed by the media presence.

And Mr. Landry, exactly how long have you known Earnest Johnson?

Earnest Johnson? Hey, Earnest!

- You mean Bud? We all grew up together.

How do you think he's shouldering the responsibility... of picking the next President of the United States?

Well, I'm sure that...

Earnest is... crapping his pants.

He's a good guy. He likes to treat them good.

We used to light the mesa back here on fire!

It's all my fault, isn't it?

No! No, no, no, baby, no.

None of this would have happened if I hadn't let you down.

What are we gonna do?

Well...

I'm gonna back these people up.

Holy shit!

There's so many!

Ok, I'm just gonna go out there, right? I'm gonna...

I'm gonna walk out there and tell those people it wasn't me who voted.

No, you can't!

Why not?

You swore to that judge, on a Bible and everything.

What? That was the middle of the night. That can't count!

You were under oath, Bud. Voter fraud is a felony.

And one more felony and they take me away from you.

You're right. Shit! I am down to one!

What do we do?

We lie. We have to.

Okay, that's a good plan. Just a little white lie is all this is.

Between us. Just between us.

Who knows, maybe this thing, all these...

Maybe all these people, they just go away.


Stop! Stop!


What the hell is this?

The biggest space we could find.

How we gonna do this? Build a campaign around one man?

I don't know how to do this. You're gonna leave it to me.

We're gonna win him, Don! We're gonna win this guy.

We got the issues on our side!

There you go! He's gonna love me!

What's not to love?

We're in trouble. I need you to dig up everything you can on Earnest Johnson.

Talk to his family, his friends.

I want to know what he reads, what television show he watches.

His hobbies, his favorite foods, his hopes, his dreams, everything.

All we have to do is win over one American mind!

You know, I was just thinking, Marty.

I'd like to get to know this Bud Johnson. Personally.

Okay. Good.

Maybe take him out for some ice cream.

Ice cream?

What grown man doesn't like ice cream?

No higher education, not much lower education.

Divorced single father, recently laid off.

What's our first step?

Put you in a room together. See if you persuade him to come over to our side.

I like it. Him and me in a room. Yes, talking ideas, seeing what comes up.

Great plan. I'll get you some talking points.

I'm good off the cuff already.

Of course! We're just gonna get an itty bitty think tank together.

We'll run the data, see what you two could possibly have in common.

Your petition has been processed.

And in accordance with New Mexico state law, Chapter 1, Article 13, Section 11.

Could you do us a favor and back these news people up a little bit?

We could barely sleep last night.

Said voter Earnest Johnson, is hereby authorized... to recast his vote 10 days from today along official.

And there's a fat guy there, he keeps leaning on my truck... fixing his hair in my side mirror.

Said voter, Earnest Johnson, is hereby authorized to recast his vote...

10 days from today. Along official documentary notification... to both state, federal regulatory authorities.

Bud, life's gonna be a little different from now on.

You'll need security around the clock.

For what?

You're a household name.

Every political nut job in the country is gonna make their way down here.

In 10 days, you gonna make the most important decision in the free world.

And it is our job to make sure this thing comes off fair and square.

So, if there's anything that you think we need to know...

Like what?

Something we may find out later.

Better now, than later.

No, sir, there's nothing to know.

Molly! Molly! Molly!

I don't believe it. She's his daughter! Who's his daughter?

The Chairman of the Fed, the girl that won the essay contest.

Remember, I ran the story on her, election day?

This is perfect! The network wants to do an interview with her daddy.

I'm not going to use this little girl!

I've told you this before. I have integrity, like Paula Zahn.

I met Paula Zahn.

Paula Zahn eats where my friend is a waiter, alright?

I don't want to hurt your feelings, you're no Paula Zahn.

No Paula Zahn?

I booked this story. It was me.

Yes, that's why everybody here is trying to rip it out from under you.

You want a desk in New York, you want a desk in Los Angeles?

Forget everything you learned in journalism school.

This isn't new anymore. This isn't life. This is bigger. This is television!


The Johnsons have been virtually besieged inside their trailer.

But we're lucky to be joined by their pizza delivery man.

How would you characterize Earnest Johnson's state of mind?

Mostly I'd say, he was hungry.

He was hungry.

Well, there you have it.

I ain't tipping him anymore.

I ought to trim Mrs. Hardy's elm.

Looks like it's moving in our roof. What do you think?

Hard to tell. What do you think?

Definitely.

Since has become the most Googled town in the world... narrowly edging out in Jihad.


Holy crap!

You Bud? Yeah!

You're Richard Petty.

You got it, man.

Hold on. Honey! It's the king!

I got a friend down the road I want you to meet. You wanna go for a ride?

Yes! Could my daughter come?

In that case, maybe you'd better drive. Precious cargo and all!

Just a minute, Mr. Petty. Hey, Chubby!

Just because it ain't rolling, don't make it furniture! Back out of here!

Come on, baby! We gotta go!

You're Richard Petty!

Molly! Get a picture, honey.

If you told me two days ago that I'd be driving your Dodge...

Did you get it? Yes.

Get one more. Get it with my chin out a little bit. Like that.

Like a hero.

I told you, you crazy!

You ain't seen nothing yet.


Bud!

This is the President's plane.

Hello, you be Molly. I'm Mr. Fox, I work with the President.

Hi. Hi. Bud, Martin Fox.

Hello. How are you? Come in.

Take your hat off please. Your hat.

So, this is the Johnson family.

Welcome to Air Force One. Hi, Molly.

Thanks for having us, sir. It's a pleasure.

Mr. President. Huh?

Call him Mr. President.

It's an honor, Mr. President.

It's an honor to meet you, Bud. May I call you Bud?

Yes, Mr. President.

Come on in, come on.

God, this...

This place is it's really something!

It's my little home in the sky.

It's kinda, like a trailer with wings.

Fine analogy, Bud.

Molly, I saw your speech on TV the other night.

Very impressive!

Say thank you, baby. Thank you, Mr. President.

You must be a very proud father. Yes, sir.

God, I'm sorry. Mr. President.

You can see why she's definitely the brains of our operation.

I know what you mean. We all need a Molly.

Marty here, is my Molly.

That's right. Molly, I bet a smart kid like you... would love to see the war room.

No, thanks.

Why don't we have a peek and then your dad and the President can have a talk.

Go on, Honey. Daddy has to talk to the President.

She's a firecracker!

Yes, sir, she's the whole deal!

I wouldn't mind seeing the war room, Mr. President.

I'll show it to you later. And please, call me Andy.

Andy? Yeah.

Are you sure, that-that other guy...

I know, things can get a little formal around here.

Commander in Chief, running the country and all that. Please.

I am just an ordinary man, like you...

The kinda guy you can sit down and have a beer with.

Would you like a beer, Bud?

A beer?

No shit?

No shit.

Well, then...

Yes. Hell, yeah, Andy. Okay!

David, would you get us a couple of beers, please?

Thank you very much. So... you're gonna have some story to tell your friends.

I read about you in the paper. They say you've never lost an election.

That's right. You can learn a lot from reading the newspaper.

They also said that you don't believe in anything anymore.

Even if it meant selling your mother's soul.

No, see, no, see that's libelous, Because my mother is a wonderful... wonderful, wonderful woman.

If you met my mother, you'd understand.

You a football fan, Bud?

Well, I'm an American, aren't I?

I played a little in high school.

Did you now? What position?

I was quarterback.

I always thought football was a strategic game. A lot like diplomacy.

You got your offense, your defense, the President is like your quarterback... and the American voters...

Well... they're like the coach.

Never thought of it that way.

Now the coach's job is to make sure... that the right man has the football at the critical time.

I know exactly what you mean, Andy.

Do you?

Maybe not.

Bring in the football, please.

Bud.

You wanna hold the football?

There's a football in there?

That case holds the launch codes... to America's nuclear arsenal.

That's what this election's all about.

Launch codes like... missiles and shit?

I want you to pretend that America is a team... and you're the coach. Okay.

Let's say it's the 4th quarter. We've got possession, but we're down by five.

North Korea has us pinned in our own fifteenth line... with one second on the dooms day clock. What are you doing to do?

Okay, you go long. The only thing standing between victory and defeat... is a successful Hail Mary. One play.

Who are you gonna give the ball to, Bud?

Do you pin your hopes on some liberal second string quarterback... who hasn't had five minutes in the big show? Of course you don't.

You do the smart thing.

The only thing. You go with your strongest arm, the man... who's carried you through the season, who's never let you down.

Bud, America's counting on you.

Yes, sir. I'm not gonna let them down.

But, here.

Wouldn't want to drop the old football.

Blow up France or something.

You couldn't.

There's a whole bunch of secret codes and these special little keys.

Here's to you!

Look at all... Look at all this stuff they give us, Molly.

They give us the same shampoo that the President uses.

Great.

So, what did you guys talk about?

Stuff. What stuff?

You know... grown up stuff.

Like?

Like...

Bud!

What stuff?

Like grown up stuff. You know, coaching. Football.

Geothermal nuclear war.

Andy's, a great... great guy.

He's not Andy. He's the President of the United States.

And he just wants your vote.

And gee, guess what? He's gonna get it.

It's not even yours to give!

You're gonna...

ruin everything.

Andy, the President, invited me to watch the game... with him on Monday night. That's a bribe!

That's not a bribe.

Is too. It is not.

Is too. It is not.

Is too! Is not! What it is, "too"?

What the hell do you know? More than you.

You do not. Do too.

You do not. Do too.

Fine. Fine.

Did you smell all the leather on that plane?

If I made you feel second best I'm sorry I was blind No, baby, leave it, leave it. That's Willie.

You were always on my mind

Hi, I'm Willie Nelson.

And when I'm not performing, I'm usually getting involved.

Hey, Bud, if you're out there and you're watching...

He's talking to us!

There's a special dinner, especially for you in your honor... hosted by my good friend and Presidential candidate Donald Greenleaf.

- I'll see you here tonight. I'll do it, Willie!

This is really getting weird.


Democrat or a Republican?

I'm Art Crumb, Donald Greenleaf's campaign manager.

Nice to meet you. Same here.

You must be Molly. Quite an essay. You have a future in politics one day.

You might too. One day.

Shall we go in?

Not too hard to be nice, come on.

Party. Party!

Right this way... make yourselves at home.

Hello.

As you can see, we've got a lovely buffet.

Would you like a bud, Bud?

Sure.

Look at that. You got chipped meat on toast.

My momma used to make that for me.

No kidding? Yes.

There's all you can eat.

It's all in your honor.

And there's all the Willie Nelson you can listen to.

I understand you're an aficionado.

Yes, sir, I was in an all Willie tribute band for about five years.

Called ourselves The Half Nelsons.

Only his songs?

No other request. But you know, I got my own stuff.

So, why don't you guys do one of your songs tonight?

I would but my rhythm section's incarcerated.

We've pulled a few strings.

Hey, Bud! Bud! Hey, boys!

Come on up!

They paying us?

You really did, you got them out. Thank you. Pull strings.

Bud! Buddy, Buddy! Buddy, look at me!

Damn, Hank, you look good. Just like prom.

Thank you. Thank you, amigo. This is the best day of my life.

There's someone very special I'd like you to meet.

Mr. Johnson!

Donald Greenleaf.

Too tight.

Hell of a party you got here, Mr. Greenleaf.

Yes, sir. We democrats are one hell of a party.

Call me Don.

Okay, Don.

The stage awaits.

Well, he said so, right?


Pontiac, Pontiac Out there in my backyard.

I'm gonna fix it up, paint it red gonna make that engine go

Chevrolet, Chevrolet Chevy year that running Past fly, this and that Gonna make that engine go You ready?

They're all in my backyard Them old cars I love everyone of them Molly? You remember me?

Hi, Ms. Madison.

Don't worry, I didn't bring a camera.

I'm gonna get one running yet.

All this craziness. I don't know how you're doing it.

If you ever want to talk, you call me anytime, okay?

I'm gonna give you my card. There you go.

You want an interview with Bud, right?

I'd like him to think about it.

Okay.

I'll get one running yet

I'll get one running yet

I'll get one running yet

I'll get one running yet

I'll get one running yet

Bud! You're the man!

Well... I like you, Bud.

You seem to be a real genuine sort of guy.

Thanks, Don.

Tell me about yourself. You got any hobbies?

Just... just fishing.

You're a fellow angler!

What kind of rod do you use?

Well, I use a six and a half foot graphite Johnny Morris signature series.

Heavy?

Medium heavy.

Bait catching reel, twelve pound test.

Don't tell me.

Seven inch power grub, purple shaky worm.

Yes, sir! Damn, he, he, you know your equipment!

I figured you for a bass man.

Well, I... try to take Molly out as much as I can.

We caught a two dinner stripe on the Pecos just the other day.

I'm sorry to hear that, Bud.

Why?

There's a bill in the House targeting the Pecos River for... reallocation.

You lost me there.

That's where a big corporation builds a dam.

Limits the flow of water, the fish can't get to their spawning grounds... eventually the whole population dies off.

That sucks, because I've been fishing there my whole life.

You'd better look for another river, because President Boone has received... ten million dollars in contributions from the energy company... and he's got to pay them back somehow.

Come on, now. Come on, Andy wouldn't do that.

He already did, Bud. He already did.

Okay. Can't you do something?

If I'm elected President.

What?

No, tell me exactly what was said.

It's my commitment to protect the wild places in this country... for future generations.

And I'm not going to stop there, Bud.

With your help, my administration... will be a leader in environmental protections.

My fellow Americans...

I give you, the Pecos River National Wildlife Preserve!

And what can only be characterized as a complete policy reversal... the President has surely alienated his corporate donors... by adopting a pro-environment stance.

Bud and Molly Johnson were on hand today...

We are the environmental party!

Those bastards stole our platform.

Put the PR people on standby.

You want Spiegelman Fischer? Too high brow.

What about those iPod guys? No, Larry, too urban.

Get the guys who do those Miller Lite spots.

The ones with those girls wrestling in the fountain.

I don't know, Mr. Crumb.

I like the narrator's voice. His cadence.

Just call them.

Galena hates those ads, Artie, she says they send the wrong message.

Your wife's not our target demographic, that son of a bitch is.

Great.

He's got the Secret Service running flight patterns!

All we need is an issue that matters to this guy.

One issue, one man...

one vote.

Boy.

I already own it.

Alright, I'm gonna buy a hotel.

Hi, there. I've got a delivery for Bud Johnson.

From who?

From everyone.


Tell me, what drives Bud Johnson?

Right now, an '89 Chevy Silverado.

You don't have to lift that up. If you leave it, it's probably better.

This thing is getting away from you. I'm doing the best I can.

Do better! I thought you wanted to get out of this shithole town!

I want to get out the facts!

You hear that? The clicking.

Click, click.

The sound of a million remote controls changing the channel on your ass.

Click equals death!

You got to get people a reason to watch. This is the prime time news.

The key word, being new!

Find me something. You just got taken down by Mary Hart!

Bud, in looking at it, is there any issue in particular that... has touched you personally?

Yeah, yeah, insourcing.

You mean, outsourcing.

No, I mean in.

Can you elaborate? Yeah, well... where I used to work, there's a bunch of guys I know, they got laid off.

Instead of sending our jobs, losing our jobs to Mexico... they're bringing in Mexicans to take our jobs.

And we're out.

Wait a minute, could I say that again? I don't think that came out right.

That came out great.

That came out very well, Mr. Johnson.

Very authentic. Central casting?

Border patrol?

So, they're actual undocumented workers?

We prefer undocumented actors.

Alright, rehearsal's up, back it into one please!

But we courted the Pro-Immigrant movement.

Inclusiveness is the foundation of our party. It's our base!

We no longer have a base. Bud Johnson's our base.

I don't even recognize myself anymore.

And what about... Rainbow House?

Screw! This guy cares about immigration.

You wanna win? Go out there and rip the Statue of Liberty a new one!

And action!

Bud, in the last four years, President Boone... has allowed millions of illegal aliens to cross the border...

Flooding cities like Los Angeles, New York and Texico.

With your help, Bud, my administration will mend our broken borders... and stop insourcing.

A vote for Greenleaf is a vote for America...

An America where Americans come first.

This land is our land, Bud. Help me keep it that way.

Dear Tommy, I was very moved by the letter from your 6th grade class.

Global warming is a serious issue... and I promise to make it a top priority in my discussions with the candidates.

"Dear Mrs. Anderson, thank you for your letter.

I am doing everything I can to press the candidates about health insurance."

"Dear Mr. Olsen, I sympathize with your fears about job security.

I promise you, I will not ignore the issues...

Education, veterans, the economy... health care, the environment.

I am working tirelessly. I'm doing everything I can.

Sincerely, Earnest Bud Johnson."


Now!

Now!

Oh, my God! Don!

The goose is down!

How many fingers?

America wants to know what it's like to be Bud Johnson.

It doesn't suck.

Come on!

I've heard you've received marriage proposals in the mail, true?

Yeah, you can tell that Miss September... that I'm weighing my options.

Hurry up, Bud!

People Magazine named you the Sexiest Man of the Year.

Yeah? Well, what can I say?

Guilty as charged!

These people!

Molly, what do you think of your Dad? What do you think?

Go ahead, go on. Stick your head up with that little camera. You turd!

Bud... Bud!

Freeze! Stop.

Stop.

Stop!

Come on, Molly? It's just chocolate. From the gun people.

I fixed you bacon and eggs. You did?

That's nice!

I want you to look nice. What's the occasion?

There's someone I think you should talk to.

Sit.

She's different than all the others. I think her heart's in the right place.

I want you to try not to say anything embarrassing, okay?

To who? Ms. Madison.

The TV woman? She's outside.

She's outside? Yes. In the kitchen.

She's in our kitchen? Yes.

Just try and be normal.

Do I smell?

Then, give me the Old Spice. God darn it! I was just having some fun!

Molly, these eggs are amazing.

Yes, they sure are.

Thanks.

Well...

I like this new look on you.

It's good, isn't it? Professional.

Yeah, its damn good.

Anyway, Bud, I was thinking about interviewing you over the next days.

Get to know you and your thoughts.

Think people really care about my thoughts?

I really do considering the choice you're about to make.

Did you say you went to Texico High?

She did. Only her name was Morales.

Morales?

You're kidding. One of Bobby Morales little sisters?

Yeah, that's me.

Small world!

Small town. Then, Bud, are you ready?

It's a good time?

Yeah, go ahead, shoot.

Thanks, Bud.

Why don't we get started with your opinion of gay marriage.

Shit! Do we have to?

So, you're against it. I... no, I didn't say that.

Then, what is your position?

I don't have a position on it. Actually, I don't give a rat's ass about it.

My daddy always said whatever a king does in his castle is his business.

I guess the same can go for two queens.

I'm President Boone, and I'd like you to meet a few friends of mine.

They're our doctors, and our peace officers.

They teach our children, they serve nobly in our armed forces.

For two long, homosexual Americans... have been persecuted by the country they love.

This President, if re-elected, will implement the open door initiative.

Gay Americans alike will be able to proudly step out of the closet... and on to the alter, to exchange the sacred vows enjoyed by the rest of us.

Bud, With your help, this Republican administration... will say, I do. To gay marriage.

I do.

I do.

I do!

I do.

I do!

I do!

I did it! That 'a way, baby!

When we were kids, this was the only thing to do on the weekends.

Still is.

Well done, Bud.

See?

Let's get to some real issues.

Okay.

Pro-life or pro-choice? Where do you stand?

Well...

Life's pretty good. Right about now.

So, you're pro-life then?

Who isn't?

Artie.

Artie. What?

I don't feel comfortable with this. We're headed in the wrong direction.

No, it's gonna be great.

Artie. And action! Action!

And action, Donald!

What is our future?

I'll tell you what our future is.

Children like these, like your daughter, Bud.

Happy, free, full of promise.

But imagine a world without all this joyous laughter.

I'm talking about abortion.

President Boone, he claims he's pro-life.

But yet under his leadership... no significant challenge has been leveled against Roe versus Wade.

With your help, Bud, the Greenleaf administration... will lead a genuine effort to reverse this inhumane court decision.

So, join me and the Democrats as we preserve all life...

That's for filling God's intelligent design.

I'm Donald Greenleaf and I approve this message.

That don't seem right.

He's only saying that because you said you didn't like abortion.

Yeah, but I didn't say that.

You told that you were pro-life.

So what?

Pro-life means anti-abortion. Roe versus Wade? Hello!

This isn't working.

I thought would help, but it's just worse.

You're the one that wanted me to talk to her.

I thought you might like her. She's smart, and nice... not like the other women you spend time with.

Which women would those be, Molly?

The ones that dance, Bud.

Well, at least they got jobs.

It's all getting turned upside down now.

What's all getting turned upside down?

You're ruining America!

I'm what? You're ruining EUA!

I'm ruining EUA? Yes!

What?

What I finally am is having a little good luck... and you're giving me shit about it!

You know what all this means for someone like me?

I had dreams once. Maybe it weren't this... but I was in the fifth grade, so I had them.

And now...

I pretty much been headed on a road for being a nobody and now that...

I am a somebody, you can't stand that I'm getting a little attention.

A little? Yeah, a little.

Maybe I'll tell the truth, Bud.

The truth? Yes.

The truth about what?

Maybe I'll tell everybody it was me who tried to vote while you got drunk!

I don't care if they take me away from you.

Molly... Hey, Molly!

Leave me alone.

- Fine. Fine.

Fine.


Could you sign it?

Sure thing, Curly.

Hey, Bud... did you give the President's butt a kiss from us?

You got something to say, Walt?

It's not just me, Bud. No one likes what you done to this town.

What's gonna happen after you vote?

Everyone's gonna pack up and leave us in the same shape as they found us.

Bud, you're on TVagain!

Hey, Bud, you're on TV again.

People have to stop saying Bud Johnson is good for democracy.

He's made us the laughing stock of the entire world.

The news media follows him around like a bunch of paparazzi, because... we're more concerned with his fifteen minutes of fame... than we are with the choice he's about to make.

Is anybody really listening to this guy?

Wake up, America! Bud Johnson, is a dumbass!

Your wife has just arrived, Mr. Greenleaf.

Thank God! Good.

Please, don't upset him.

When did you get in? I missed you so much!

You are letting this two bit hack destroy you.

You are everything that the Republicans accused you of being.

A spineless amateur. Afraid to take a position.

I am not afraid to take a position.

Okay, sometimes I have second thoughts.

But what thinking person doesn't?

You used to stand for something. Both of you.

Let her go.

What's happened to you, Art?

I'm gonna win this time.

You used to run campaigns that meant something.

They would have meant something if the candidates I backed had won!

You know what's like to be on the right side of every issue on the theory stage?

The hope that rocks with every loss?

Not this time. Never again.

Back to work! Everybody!

Look at that!

You burnt the hot dog, just a little bit.

Just the way I like them!

Bud? Yes?

I think we should ask for a Presidential debate.

Come on! Can't we just talk about something else for one night?

Just for a minute? Maybe?

What did you just say to me?

A Presidential debate. Where you get to ask questions.

Please. Just stop.

It's important! It could help you decide.

Help me decide.

Think about what you're saying to me.

I have! You should read all this mail you've been getting.

People are writing to you for help.

People are writing me letters. So what?

I can't help these people.

You can speak for them.

Will you do it for me?

I'm doing this all because of you!

Confirmed, one Presidential debate will occur this Wednesday night... at which Mr. Johnson will ask both candidates a set of questions.

The following day, he'll cast his vote.

Bud, what will you ask at the debate?

Truth is, I don't know yet, but I'm...

I'll figure it out.

I hate debates. Where they try-to trick you.

I know, but you'll be fine.

We have two days to sew this thing up.

I'm gonna need you to meet with Bud again.

And, offer him a little incentive.

You want I give him a bag of cash?

No, he's got too much attention on him for that.

I was thinking that maybe you'd offer him a job.

Something with benefits. If you know what I mean.

Marty, I've been meaning to talk to you.

I'm not sure about our strategy on this whole Bud thing.

You've never questioned me before. On anything.

Ever.

I know and I'm not saying I won't do it. I just...

I can't shake this feeling...

The way we've been switching positions, and now offering Bud...

We're just doing what we always do.

That's all.

Dancing the dance, Courting the voters.

Except this time, it's only one voter.

It's one guy.

This is history, Mr. President.

It's never happened before.

This is a moment the whole world will remember. Forever.

I understand.

What are we about?

Winning.

Because if we don't win, you can't do what you set out to do.

And what you've done, won't matter.

If we don't win, it's all over.

And you're over.

Bud!

Bud!

What time is it?

Late. It's late. You promised to take me in today.

Okay! Just give me a few minutes.

What's today?

Forget it.

Can you take me, please?

Yeah Ye. Let's go.

Oh, God!

Hey, wait a minute, Molly.

Molly! Molly!

Mr. Johnson... Mr. Johnson!

The President would like a word with you.

The President? Yes, sir.

Hey, get a life!

I used to work at Gilmore before I got laid off.

Now, I find work wherever I can.

Mow people's lawns, fixing stuff.

Hasn't been easy.

Molly.

I'd sure appreciate it if your Dad could put in a good word for me at the plant.

Thank you, Michael and Mr. Everett for that... presentation.

Who's next?

Molly.

I guess you all probably know my dad.

He really wanted to be here today, but... he had so many important things to do.

He's doing his best, but... he can't be everywhere at once.

Ever since all this stuff happened...

he's really been under a lot of pressure.

I just want you to know that... he takes his responsibilities seriously... and that he really cares about helping poor people... and sick people.

And people that can't help themselves.

My...

my dad wants to make this country a better place.

Do you think much about your future?

What future?

I know what you mean.

We all worry about the sun down years.

Sooner or later, all this hoopla is gonna die down.

They're gonna build me a library.

And you're gonna be just another face in the crowd.

Can't wait.

What you need to think about is security.

Now I've got a friend... who might have a job for you. In the lobby business.

Like opening doors for people?

Very astute!

Open doors to politicians. And their checkbooks.

People really like you, Bud. They feel like you're one of them.

I'm not quite following you, Andy.

Sometimes you gotta figure out what you want in this life.

Then you have to decide how much it's worth to you.

Because they're gonna put it on your tombstone.

It's your legacy.

A measure of what you left behind.

Are we...

are we still talking about the job?

The lobby business?

Right. Forget that.

It's not worth it.

And thank you.


Molly!

You said that if I ever wanted to talk, right?

Here's some hot cocoa.

Sorry. All I had was skim milk.

It's okay.

What's going on?

It's all my fault. What's your fault?

Bud was supposed to meet me after school.

He knew how important it was to me. But he got drunk.

He never even showed up. I didn't know what else to do!

Wait, Molly, what are you saying?

Molly?

Aren't you gonna get that?

Yeah, give me two seconds. Stay here. I'm gonna get them off the phone.

Can call you back? This isn't a good time. Yeah, I know.

I know. You already told me that.

Look, can I call you back?

Molly?

Molly!

Are you okay?

You think your dad might be passed out tonight?

Then, you're going to recast your vote.

I guess it ain't that much of a secret then, is it?

If we are to be the exception to history, then we must break the cycle.

For those who do not remember the past...

Remind me again who's running?

So, what you're saying is, you're keeping...

It's all my fault. Bud was supposed to meet me after school.

He knew how important this was to me. But he got drunk.

He didn't even show up. I didn't know what else to do!

Molly, what are you saying?

He didn't vote!

What do you mean, she's missing?

I'm sorry, Mr. Johnson. It's all my fault.

For crying out loud, Lewis!

You guys guard Presidents.

She's smarter!

Tell me about it!

What is all this?

She's been answering your mail.

For what?

She wanted people to think that you cared.

She told you that?

Does have any friends we should contact?

I don't know.

No, she's not the friend type.

Jed.

Jed? Who's Jed? It's a boy she likes.

She likes a boy?

Jed Barkley. He's in her class.

He's a little shy, but they're friends.

Is she told you that? Yes, sir.

Do you have any idea where she might be going?

Yeah, I'm can guess where she's going.

Just tell us where, we'll go pick her up, sir.

She's my daughter. I'll get her myself.


This is it.

Sure you wanna go in?

Came this far, didn't we?

I'll wait here awhile. Just in case you want to go home.

I never want to go home.


Yes?

I'm looking for Larissa Star.

Well, she's gone. She's moved out a long time ago.

I think you're her.

You Jed?

It's okay, is she in there? Yes, sir.

Wait here.

You're all grown up!

You look like your dad.

He says I look like you.

Does he? So, why did you come here?

You wrote me a letter. You said I could come live with you.

That was a long time ago, honey.

Things have changed.

I'm close to getting a record deal.

I did a gig a couple of months ago.

This guy wants to put me in touch with this big time Nashville producer.

So he's gonna call me. I'm not gonna be ready.

I gotta get ready. There's a lot I gotta do, so I can't do this.

I'm not well. Can't you see that?

I can take care of you, Mom.

I don't want anybody to take care of me. I don't want you here.

Dad!

Jesus Christ, Larissa!

I don't want her to see me like this.

Molly, you gotta go outside, okay? For me. You got out there and wait.

Dad! Just outside. Now!

I heard you'd finally gotten cleaned up.

Who told you that? My God, what is going on out there?

I can't explain.

What are you, famous now? You think you can just come? I can't do this!

Wait... No! No! Come here.

I'm not mad Larissa.

I'm trying to tell you...

I can't be a mom right now. I can't. Stay back! I can't... be a mom right now. I can't do it. I can't do it.


Said no reporters, Lewis.

I just want to talk to you.

I don't have time, Kate.

I'm moderating a Presidential debate tomorrow night in front of a zillion.

So as much as I'd love for you to make an ass out of me again on TV...

I kinda have some preparing to do.

I have to catch up on the issues.

Like all of them!

Bud.

I know what happened election night.

I'm running the story. I just want to make sure I've got my facts right.

The bartender claims you left the Starline about 7:30.

Is that correct?

Yes, madam.

Giving you plenty of time to meet at the polling station... and cast your vote... right?

I... guess so.

Just making sure.

I'm sorry. I got something for you.

Kinda forgot who I was for a moment.

Forgive me?

That depends.

Can you help me, help him tonight?

I'd love to.

I work two jobs just trying to make ends meet.

Last year my son was diagnosed with...

Law makers renewed the primary programs for low income HIV and AIDS patients.

Named for Ryan White, a young AIDS activist...


Good evening everyone.

We come to you live from a small American town... a town most of us had never heard of just a few weeks ago.

A town you couldn't find on the map... because Texico, New Mexico, wasn't on the map.

But it's on the map now.

The whole world has descended on this town for an historic event.

A political debate unlike any other.

Tomorrow morning, Earnest Bud Johnson... will walk into a voting booth and make a choice.

And his choice will affect our lives for generations to come.

The stakes could not be higher. What do you expect?

I wonder, Aaron, what the founding fathers would make of all this.

Would they be mortified, or would they be jumping for joy?

Something tells me that somewhere right now...

Franklin and Jefferson are looking down and smiling.

Smiling or laughing?

I don't know if they're smiling.

That's not exactly who they had in mind for picking the President of the USA.

We're sending someone out there who really is, as far as, we can tell lost.

Can he find himself suddenly, tonight on this stage...

Or is he going to look like a rodeo clown down there?

Tonight, the whole country is watching and we watch with you.

I'm gonna puke.

Bud, look at me. Look at me.

Just be yourself. You're gonna be great.

Hey, remember dad. No cussing! Okay?

Fine. Fine.

Mr. Johnson, one minute, please.

Good luck!

And so we begin.

The crowd has settled down and we go to the stage... for what promises to be... one of the most unique moments in American political history.


Mr. President, Mr. Greenleaf...

I'd like to thank you for your hospitality. It's been real interesting.

I've said a lot of thing I didn't mean.

And you both made a lot of promises... you probably won't be able to keep.

To be honest, the last 10 days have felt like a weird dream.

What was once kinda funny, isn't anymore.

From what I've read, I've...

well, I've scared the hell out of America.

I know that the world is watching, maybe even laughing.

People on my own TV, are saying... that America, somehow, deserves this moment.

Guess that means me.

I can't say that I've been much of anything most of my life.

It's sorta like somewhere along the way...

I checked out and it's not like I had big dreams to begin with.

But I had something once.

I had something close to faith or hope or whatever... whatever word you want to use for how good life could be.

But then, the years start moving quicker and all of a sudden... what's going good out there for every else... isn't going so good for you.

But, tonight I feel... embarrassed.

I've had my chances, more than most.

I've grown up in a country where... if I decided to do more with my life than just drift and drink... that I could be standing where... where maybe you stand tonight.

Instead, I've taken freely and I've given nothing.

I'm ashamed in front of my... daughter.

And my country.

I've never served or sacrificed.

The only heavy lifting I've been asked is simple stuff, like... pay attention. Vote...

For America has a... if America has a true enemy tonight, I guess it's me.

Tonight a below average man is going to choose between two exceptional men.

Tomorrow, one man's vote is going to make a difference...

'Cause tomorrow we're gonna have a President.

And not just someone to fill a chair in Washington.

We need someone who's bigger than their speeches.

The kind of President we learned about in school.

America needs a big thinker.

You know, like a giant, really.

Someone who has the good sense to get in front of our problems.

Somebody who has the wisdom to lead to us a place... where we're at peace with ourselves and the world.

And just for the record, I want you both...

I want you both to know that I think a hella lot of you.

Tonight, I am going to speak for people I have never met...

whose letters touched me in a way I didn't think was possible.

My first question comes from...

Peter Manthis, in Henderson, Kentucky.

"Dear Mr. Johnson... my wife and I have three little girls.

We both work two jobs just trying to make ends meet.

And some weeks, we don't make it."

"When you work hard and you still can't take care of your family... you start to question yourself as a provider, as a man.

I know I am one. I fought for my country and I'm proud of it.

But it scares me to think about what would happen if one of my kids got sick.

"Can you ask the candidates, if we are richest country in the world... how come some many of us can barely afford to live here?"

I'd like to take that one first, if I might, Mr. Greenleaf.

Answer, Mr. President.

Bud, I'd first like to say, how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness.